Chennai: AIADMK’s twin head honchos, Coordinator O Panneerselvam and Co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswamy, retained their posts on Monday by emerging victorious in the organizational polls with no one else filing nominations for the top positions, while another petition for a stay to the conduct of elections was not entertained by the Madras High Court.
The party’s Election Commissioners C Ponniyan and Pollachi V Jayaraman announced the unanimous election of the duo after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations for the key elections on Monday, triggering celebrations at the party headquarters on Lloyds Road and elsewhere in the State, too.
Lighting of fire crackers, distribution of sweets and shouting of slogans marked the bonhomie and jubilation among the cadre and functionaries since the cloud of uncertainty that hung over the smooth conduct of elections was cleared.
The specter of ousted general secretary V K Sasikala storming in any time loomed over the party since the leaders planned the organisational elections and decided on continuing with the present arrangement at the helm of affairs.
The Election Commissioners said that about 154 sets of nominations were filed in the name of the Panneerselvam and Palaniswami by different cadre and functionaries and there was no contest from any quarters.
As per the revised rules of the party, nomination for the posts of Coordinator and Co-coordinator should be made in a single form in a combined manner since the twin posts replaced the earlier general secretary.
As the rules mandate the direct election of the general secretary by the cadre, since the days of the party founder M G Ramachandran, the replaced twin positions too had to be elected by the cadre directly through a single ballot.
However, with no one else filing nominations, Panneeselvam and Palaniswami also managed to uphold a tradition since MGR’s time by getting elected unanimously without contest. Even during the time of J Jayalaithaa, the practice had been that several nominations were filed in the name of her by the cadre.
Both the leaders received the certificates of their election from the Election Commissioners after paying floral tributes to the statues of MGR and Jayalalithaa inside the party headquarters, Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Malaigai, and then went to pay homage to the party founder and former leader at their memorials.
Most of the top leaders of the party, who have been opposing the re-entry of Sasikala, accompanied the head honchos as they visited the samadhis of MGR and Jayalalithaa on the Marina and put up a united show.
So, the next challenge for the leaders is to conduct the mandatory General Council meeting and ratify the changes that they had brought to the party Constitution, particularly the one declaring Jayalalithaa as the permanent general secretary and bringing in the dual posts of Coordinator and Co-coordinator.
Prior to the General Council, the party would have to complete the conduct of elections to the party’s other post at various levels and also party organizations. Since it would be those getting elected to the wide array of party posts who would be voting in the general council, the leaders have the responsibility of ensuring that their supporters win the party polls.
Any supporter of Sasikala entering the general council could be detrimental to the smooth conduct of the proceedings and the ratifying of the Constitution changes.