Deposed AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam on Friday said the Supreme Court judgement that allowed Edappadi K Palaniswami to continue as party interim chief is not a setback and asserted that he would go to the people and seek justice.
In his first official reaction to the top court’s ruling, Panneerselvam said no verdict is a setback for them. ”Only after this judgment, our party workers are enthused more,” he told reporters.
The embattled leader also wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI), urging it not to entertain any changes in the party by-laws as well as in the hierarchy of the AIADMK based on ”the illegal resolutions” dated July 11, 2022. He said he will file a civil suit as regards the resolutions.
Asserting that the ‘Dharma Yudham’ is on, Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS said he and his followers would go to the people to seek justice. The campaign to reach out to the people would begin soon and it would be held district-wise across the State.
”We will seek justice by standing on the side of dharma.” So far the concentration of his camp was on court matters and from now on they would work on going to the people.
”We fought it out in the apex court. Our battalion has started. We will go to the people’s court,” he said and added that they would get a good verdict from the people.
Answering a question on accusations hurled against him and his followers that they are the ruling DMK’s ‘B’ team, Panneerselvam said ‘they (Palaniswami camp) are the A to Z team’ of DMK.
”Can they accuse us over a single thing? There are a thousand things, these will come out one after the other,” he said. They were patient so far considering party discipline and to ensure that the party does not ‘break-up,’ OPS added.
R Vaithilingam, a staunch loyalist of OPS demanded to know the outcome of several cases including graft cases against followers of EPS. A former Minister, Vaithilingam also referred to the Kodanadu murder and heist case.
Referring to EPS camp’s assertion that they would not take back OPS, VK Sasikala and her relative TTV Dhinakaran, the former CM wondered if the party was established by Palaniswami. The EPS team is arrogant and they would be subdued by the people and party workers. Sasikala is the confidante of late Jayalalithaa.
OPS reiterated that nobody has the authority to annul the party by-law that party matriarch J Jayalalithaa is the eternal general secretary.
The AIADMK is a party of workers and founder M G Ramachandran bestowed on party workers the right to elect the top leader. However, 10 district secretaries should propose a person and it needed to be seconded by an equal number of secretaries. Such things cannot be done, he said.
Noted Panneerselvam supporter Manoj Pandian and other loyalists said that the top court’s ruling has given full scope for further legal action in the High Court. Hence, the matter would be discussed and taken forward. ”Our case in the Supreme Court was that the General Council (July 11,2022) should have been convened only by OPS and EPS together. They both have to affix their signature for that. That was our case. We did not go into resolutions at all.” There is not even a single line in the judgment saying that the resolutions adopted in the General Council are valid. ”There is nothing in the SC judgment that endorsed elevation of Palaniswami as interim general secretary or the expulsion of Panneerselvam and his followers,” they said. Such important changes and decisions were carried out by way of adoption of resolutions.
Panneerselvam loyalists said that the SC ruling has made it clear that the judgement is not binding in respect of pending civil suits in connection with changes to party leadership and related matters.
The resolutions –that elevated EPS as interim chief and expelled OPS and his followers– have not come into force, they emphasised.
Meanwhile, in his letter to Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, citing the SC ruling, OPS said the court ”has considered only the issue whether the convening of the general council on July 11, 2022 is in accordance with law…” However, with regard to the legality and the validity of the resolutions ”said to have been passed on 11.07.22 general council meeting,” the Court has explicitly held that ”in the interest of justice, we leave all the related aspects concerning the said resolutions open to be agitated, but strictly in accordance with law; and all the objections and rebuttals of the contesting parties are also kept open,” he said, quoting from the apex court order.
”In view of the above, I am filing a civil suit in respect of the resolutions adopted on July 11, 2022 and therefore I am bringing it to your notice that the resolutions are not validly passed and request you not to entertain any changes in the by-laws of the party based” on the July 11 resolutions, he told the CEC in the letter.
”I also intend to continue agitating the pending civil suits to the fullest extent,” OPS added.
Any changes made in the party hierarchy would ”seriously prejudice” his legal rights in the proposed suit and would cause ”irreparable loss,” and ”parallel adjudication” the former chief minister contended.