AIADMK sets in motion inner party election process, questions remain

Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Wednesday set in motion its inner party election process with its decision to amend its bye-laws relating to the election of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator, said a senior party leader.

The party’s Executive Committee at its meeting held here resolved to amend its bye-law enabling the election of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator by primary members by a single vote.

With this, the Executive Committee in a way decided to revert to the original scheme of things as decided by AIADMK founder and late chief minister M.G.Ramachandaran (MGR).

This rule was amended by the party’s General Council meeting held on September 12, 2017 whereby it was decided that the party’s Coordinator and Joint Coordinator would be elected by the Council.

The Executive Committee also resolved to take away the powers of the Coordinator, Joint Coordinator to relax the rules relating to their election process and that of the General Council to amend the same.

“The amendment to the election process is expected to bring to an end the power struggle between the two office-bearers,” the leader added.

Currently, the AIADMK is headed by O.Panneerselvam as Coordinator and K.Palaniswami as Joint Coordinator with the latter having an upper hand in the party.

According to him, party membership cards will be issued to the members after due verification.

The party will be hiring an outside agency to carry out membership verification.

“As per the proposed scheme of things, elections will be held at 64,000 to elect the two top leaders,” he added.

According to him, the party’s General Council will be held soon as it is the requirement of the Election Commission of India.

It will also be interesting to see whether Panneerselvam and Palaniswami fight the party polls as a single team or rope in different partners.

“That possibility will not be there. The amendment to the rules is being made to show that the entire party is supportive of the twin leadership. Panneerselvam and Palaniswami will file their nominations. There will not be any rival duo team fighting against them,” political analyst Kolahala Srenivaas told IANS.

The Committee’s decision also put an end to the revival of the position of General Secretary in the party.

Interestingly, it was former Member of Parliament K.C.Palanisamy who was dismissed from AIADMK who first raised the issue of the party’s original rule whereby the General Secretary should be elected directly by the primary members and not by the General Council.

Be that as it may, the party’s Executive Committee also elected former lawmaker Tamizhmagan Hussain as the temporary Presidium Chairman, perhaps to placate the Muslim community supporters following the dismissal of A. Anwhar Raajha, a supporter of Panneerselvam.

On Tuesday late night, in a joint statement issued by Panneerselvam and Palaniswami, the party announced the expulsion of former Labour Minister Raajhaa for anti-party activities.

Raajhaa has been speaking about re-inducting the expelled Interim General Secretary V.K.Sasikala much against the views expressed by Palaniswami and others.

Sreenivas said that the party leadership has sent a strong signal that anyone who speaks in favour of Sasikala will be doing that at their own risk and there is no place for her in AIADMK.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

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