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AIADMK power struggle: Supreme Court stays Madras HC order against party resolution on leadership

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Madras High Court order restraining the AIADMK general council from passing any resolution on the leadership of the party.

The bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna Murari issued notice returnable in two weeks on the special leave petition filed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K. Palaniswami (EPS) and stayed the HC division bench order passed on a plea by former Tamil Nadu CM O. Panneerselvam (OPS) till further orders. The Apex Court, however, didn’t stay the next general council meeting scheduled on July 11.

During the hearing, the bench asked whether the dispute was still pending before the Single Bench of the Madras High Court. Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, the counsel for Palaniswami, told the court that the matter of contempt of court before the two-judge bench is listed for hearing tomorrow i.e. Thursday. Apart from this, Vaidyanathan said the court has very limited judicial powers in the internal matters of any party. It comes under the Election Commission’s jurisdiction.

A few hours before the AIADMK general council was to meet on June 23, the Division Bench of the Madras High Court stayed the meeting and its passing any resolution on the issue of single leadership in the party.

Following the Madras HC division bench order, the faction led by Palaniswami could not move towards single leadership following a rift between the two leaders. Following AIADMK supremo J. Jayalaalithaa’s demise, the party had entrusted the Chief Ministership with Palaniswami and made Panneerselvam the party coordinator. Palaniswami was made joint coordinator as well.

The internal power struggle within the AIADMK had peaked over the last few months with speculation that Palaniswami will oust Panneerselvam from the coordinator post and return the party answerable to one man.

Panneerselvam had been stand-in Chief Minister thrice whenever Jayalalithaa had to resign after her disqualification after being convicted in corruption cases. He was also Deputy Chief Minister to Palaniswami from 2017 to 2021.

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