Chennai: Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, the coordinator and joint coordinator of the AIADMK, respectively, might have postponed the party’s executive committee meet, originally slated for today, to 23 August due to ‘unavoidable reasons’. But they may not be able to postpone four important challenges that their government and the party are facing, for long.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan of the Madras High Court is now in charge of the case, after the HC delivered a split verdict on 14 June. The third judge, it is expected, will pronounce his judgement on the all-important case during the first week of September. If he backs the order by Speaker P Dhanapal to disqualify 18 legislators for revolting against Palaniswami, there will be no immediate threat to the government and the 18 constituencies will go for by-polls. But if the verdict goes in favour of the disqualified MLAs supporting AMMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, the EPS regime will be in for a tough challenge.
K C Palanisamy, a party veteran expelled from the AIADMK recently, is now posing a threat to the EPS-OPS leadership. The Delhi High Court has asked the Election Commission to decide on Palanisamy’s plea for election to the post of AIADMK general secretary within four weeks. The former spokesperson has also sought to annul the amendment to the party by-laws carried out through a resolution on 12 September 2017. The amendments made had abolished the post of general secretary and paved the way for creation of the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator, thus empowering Panneerselvam and (Edappadi) Palaniswami as party heads.
With the much-delayed local body elections coming under Madras High Court scrutiny, the State Election Commission cannot put the polls on hold for long. Recently, the HC went to the extent of ordering statutory notices to top officials on a contempt of court petition filed by the main opposition DMK for not having conducted civic polls in the State so far. ‘Do you think that it is up to you to decide at what extent court orders can be implemented?’ the bench asked the counsel for the SEC. And if the elections are conducted, they will be a question of life and death for the ruling party, as its victory alone would cement the position of EPS and OPS.
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
It was exactly a year ago that the merger of EPS and OPS factions happened. But still, there are signs of differences between leaders of the two camps. Some seniors are said to be unhappy about unkept promises. With Dhinakaran claiming his AMMK as the real AIADMK and his public meetings ‘attracting’ huge crowds, it must be worrying time for the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.