Dual leadership in the AIADMK will continue, for now.The crucial meeting of party district secretaries, MLAs, MPs and office bearers held today did not take up the issue of whether a unitary leadership will augur well for the party that faced a massive defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
At present, the power in the party is split between Edappadi K Palaniswami, chief minister, who holds the post of co-coordinator of the AIADMK; and O Panneerselvam Deputy Chief Minister, who is the coordinator and party convenor. With some of the party leaders demanding a single leader to head the party, as was done in the past, there was expectation that this issue would be taken up at today’s meeting which was called to take stock of the party’s performance in the polls.
However, senior party leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said that there was no discussion on unitary leadership as it was not an issue at all. The demand for single leadership was just a rumour, he told newspersons after the two-hour long meeting at the party headquarters. The meeting mainly took stock of the recent poll outcome, he added.
Asked whether the alliance with the BJP was an issue, he said, it was not.
Minister for Milk and Dairy Development KT Rajenthra Bhalaji said that the meeting discussed only about recent elections. “We all went to the meeting laughing, and came back laughing,” he said when asked about discontent in the party. Senior party leader Pollachi Jayaraman said that nobody can break the AIADMK.
Today’s meeting was the first after the drubbing the party received in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Out of the 38 seats, the AIADMK-led alliance lost in 37 with Panneerselvam’s son P Raveendranath being the lone winner from Theni constituency.
A joint statement issued by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam after the meeting urged party spokespersons not to speak to the media or post messages in social media accounts till the high command makes an announcement. Those defying this will face disciplinary action, it said.
In a resolution, the party thanked the people for voting for the AIADMK and its alliance partners in the recent elections. The meeting also resolved to follow the path shown by party founder and late Chief Minister MG Ramachandran and his successor J Jayalalithaa.
Three dissident MLAs - A Prabhu, VT Kalaiselvan and E Rathinasabapathy - were not invited to attend the meeting.
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