‘Betrayers’ unmasked: EPS

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami or EPS will remain at the helm of the state’s opposition AIADMK party, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, in a major blow for his rival O Panneerselvam or OPS.

The top court upheld an order of the Madras High Court after considering a batch of cases concerning changes to the party’s rules during a controversial general council meeting in July. The top court dismissed the petitions filed by Mr Panneerselvam.The Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed the September 2, 2022 order of a division bench of Madras High Court order, which allowed former Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami to continue as the interim general secretary of AIADMK.

Elated over the Supreme Court verdict allowing him to continue as the AIADMK’s top leader, Palaniswami said the ruling has unmasked “betrayers” and the “DMK’s B-team” that wanted to finish off his party.

“It’s a wonderful verdict. Justice has won. Betrayers have been unmasked. OPS’s chapter is over. No more ties with OPS. We will work with increased vigour. Jayalalithaa had said AIADAMK will continue for 100 years after her. Today, the order has made it true,” EPS said.

The favourable apex court was a result of the ‘divinity’ of party stalwarts, the late Chief Ministers M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, he said at a mass wedding ceremony in Madurai.

In a veiled attack at his rival O Panneerselvam, a grinning Palaniswami said “some Ettappars (a Tamil reference to betrayers) who worked as DMK’s B-team and wanted to finish off the AIADMK have been unmasked today. Many said AIADMK has no future (in the wake of the 2021 electoral defeat and in-party squabbles) and all that has ended with verdicts by the Supreme Court and the High Court,” he said.

The AIADMK is no more “three or four,” but was one united entity, he said, even as he exuded confidence of the party winning the February 27 Erode East by-poll.

Terming the Supreme Court ruling “historic”, senior AIADMK leader and former minister D Jayakumar said that in the battle between the ‘Pandavas’ and ‘Kauravas’, it is the former who win, billing his camp as the protagonists from the ancient epic Mahabharata.

Rubbing in his victory, Mr Jayakumar made the sign for a zero when asked what OPS’s political future would be.

On Monday, OPS had attacked the EPS faction, accusing them of betraying the party constitution. “After [AIADMK founder] MGRs demise, our leader Jayalalithaa was the permanent general secretary. The one who wants to be party chief should be elected by party cadres only,” he said at an event.

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