Tamil Nadu Revenue department officials on Thursday unsealed the AIADMK party office closed off for the past 10 days and handed over its keys to the supporters of its interim General Secretary K. Palaniswami.
Supporters of Palaniswami (EPS), including former Law Minister, CVe Shanmugham were present while the keys were handed over to the party leaders. The party leaders visited inside the headquarters to take stock of the damage that has been caused following the barging in of the supporters of estranged leader, O. Panneerselvam (OPS).
The AIADMK headquarters was sealed by the Revenue Divisional Officer on July 11 after supporters of OPS and EPS clashed outside the headquarters and hurled bottles and stones being thrown at each other. OPS and his supporters had forcibly entered the AIADMK headquarters and were all evicted by the police and the office sealed.
The Madras High Court had on Wednesday ordered the Revenue Department to hand over the keys of the office to EPS supporters.
This is the third time that the AIADMK headquarters was sealed. On January 31, 1988, following the passing away of then Chief Minister, M.G. Ramachandran, there was a split in the party with J. Jayalalithaa and MGR’s widow, Janaki Ramachandran emerging as leaders and there were clashes between the supporters of the two factions. The office was sealed and the Revenue Department was the custodian.
The second time the office was sealed was when a fight erupted between the supporters of Su. Tirunavakkarasar and Jayalalithaa. The court later handed over the keys of the office to Jayalalithaa on December 9, 1990.
With the AIADMK headquarters also under his control, Palaniswami has emerged as the undisputed leader of the party with almost all the second-rung leaders showing allegiance to him.
The former Chief Minister will be taking a tour across the state to fan up support for his elevation as the party interim General Secretary and ousting his opponent, Panneerselvam from the primary membership of the party.