Panneerselvam not an AIADMK member for 5 consecutive years: Ex-MP

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Even AIADMK Coordinator O. Panneerselvam will fail to qualify for the party’s election condition of being a member of the party for five consecutive years, said expelled former MP K.C. Palanisamy (KCP).

“The AIADMK election process is just an eyewash. I will continue my fight against the usurpation of powers by Panneerselvam and Joint Coordinator K. Palaniswami legally and politically and for the conduct of a proper party election,” KCP told IANS.

According to him, the conditions laid for filing nominations to contest the internal elections like 15 proposers, 15 seconders and five years of continued membership are to keep out other aspirants.

On Friday, 71-year-old Ompodi Prasad Singh, a party member, was assaulted at the AIADMK headquarters when he had asked for a nomination form to contest for the post of Coordinator.

According to the party election officials, others too came for filing of nominations but they were not qualified as they lacked the mandatory 15 proposers, 15 seconders and five years of continued party membership.

“Panneerselvam was expelled from the party in February 2017. So he will not fulfil the condition of party membership for a continuous period of five years,” KCP said.

Panneerselvam later rejoined the party on a compromise formula hammered out with Palaniswami.

On December 1, the AIADMK’s Executive Committee decided to amend the party’s election rule whereby the election of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator is by primary members by a single vote.

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.

This election 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.

According to KCP, originally the party did not have the concept of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator. The party rule said the General Secretary was to be elected by the primary members.

“The amendment to the election process is expected to bring to an end the power struggle between the two office-bearers,” a senior party leader told IANS.

A combination of factors like a string of electoral losses, growing dissension within the party, corruption cases, raids on the former ministers, and others led the AIADMK leadership to amend the bye-laws.

There is also a case pending in the Delhi High Court filed by former Parliamentarian KCP against the party earlier amending its constitution to take away the rights of primary members to elect the party’s General Secretary and giving it to the General Council.

According to KCP, party cadres and second line leaders have started questioning the decisions taken by the top leadership after a string of electoral losses — Lok Sabha, Assembly and local body polls.

However on December 2, the party took everybody by surprise by announcing the election schedule for the posts of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator.

The party had fixed December 7 as the poll date and the declaration of results the next day.

The party said filing of the nominations will start on December 3 and conclude on December 4.

The scrutiny of the nominations will be on December 5 and the last date for withdrawal is December 6.

According to the AIADMK’s by-laws, organisational elections have to be held once in five years.

Currently the party Coordinator and Joint Coordinator positions are held by former Chief Ministers Panneerselvam and Palaniswami respectively.

On December 3, the Madras High Court declined to stay the elections on a petition filed by expelled former Parliamentarian KCP.

Palanisamy had contended that the party did not give the mandated notice period for filing nominations after the announcement of the poll schedule.

“The court has also said it will scrap the election if any illegality was found in the election process and has ordered serving notices to Panneerselvam, Palaniswami, election officials C. Ponnaiyan and Pollachi V. Jayaraman,” KCP said.

In his case KCP also said the AIADMK did not give the mandatory 21 days notice prior to the announcement of elections – from December 2, 2021.

He had also petitioned the court to appoint a retired High Court Judge as an independent Election Officer to conduct the party election.

The AIADMK also announced the organisational elections in two phases for various posts starting from December 13 to December 23.

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

20211205-082412

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