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Late Night Setback For Tamil Nadus EPS As Court Stops Party Takeover Bid

India June 23(IM):In what is being seen as a setback for AIADMKs No. 2, former Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, the Madras High Court has restrained the partys general council to be held today from taking any decision on the single leadership formula he has been pushing.

The partys highest decision making body can only adopt the 23 resolutions already listed, the division bench ruled in an interim order after a late night hearing.

One of the petitioners, a general council member Shanmugam, had appealed against the courts order yesterday, which had refused to pass such a ruling. He has challenged the partys internal elections, and he wants no decisions on leadership taken before his case is settled.

Yesterday, the court had refused to restrain the General Council meeting. This had raised hopes for Mr Palaniswami or EPS, who hopes to get himself elevated as General Secretary of the party.

His rival and present party boss O Panneerselvam or OPS wants the dual leadership format in the party to continue.

Yesterday, in the court, OPSs lawyers argued that he would not allow any amendment or resolutions at the general council other than the 23 already presented to him.

However, EPSs lawyers argued that it cant be guaranteed, as discussions happen based on what the members think.

Another member of the general council sought a stay on the meet, saying its agenda hasnt been shared.

Trouble started last week after supporters of EPS proposed the idea of a single leadership under him at the district secretaries meet.

However, OPS wanted a high level committee, comprising senior leaders who had worked with party founder MGR and Jayalalithaa, to be constituted to guide the leadership.

He argued, that after Jayalalithaas death the partys general council had evolved the dual leadership model and declared late Jayalalithaa as the partys eternal general secretary. He added any amendment would be a betrayal.

Jayalalithaa had twice hand picked OPS to be her stand in Chief Minister when she had to step down following her conviction. Though OPS was elevated for the third time just before she died, Jayalalithaas aide VK Sasikala, who briefly took over the party, replaced him with EPS after he rebelled against her.

However, both leaders patched up and expelled Ms Sasikala when she was in jail. OPS became the number one in the party and EPS his deputy. In the government, OPS became Chief Minister EPSs deputy.

During his four year term as chief minister, EPS consolidated his position and brought the party under his control.

Speaking to NDTV, senior leader and former Minister D Jayakumar said, The rank and file of the party want EPS to be the General Secretary. We will move a resolution.

He denied that the move could trigger a split in the party and said singular leadership was the need of the hour.

There was a celebration with firecrackers at OPSs residence after this development. A leader close to him said, OPS will attend the meeting.

source : NDTV

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