The ruling AIADMK on Saturday asserted that all important policy decisions like the one related to the Chief Ministerial candidate would be taken by the high command democratically and appealed to cadres to work unitedly.
Seeking to end the debate on chief ministerial candidate for 2021 Assembly polls and following the flutter caused by posters that clamoured for 'OPS for CM', in Theni district, the AIADMK restrained cadres and leaders from expressing their views in the media on the matter.
The party said airing views on the issue would "serve no purpose," and warned of action against those violating the diktat.
The gag order followed multiple meetings senior ministers had with chief minister K Palaniswami, who is AIADMK's co-coordinator and Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam the party's coordinator, at the two leaders residences here in quick succession.
Without explicitly mentioning the CM candidate controversy, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami, in a joint statement, said: "In the past few days, some opinions expressed by party office bearers have become a subject of debate."
They said such remarks were unwarranted and had no background to it.
The duo wanted functionaries to avoid such controversies again, and asked them to follow the "military- like" discipline that they had maintained when late Jayalalithaa was at the helm of affairs.
Instead, functionaries should, "explain the achievements of the government and the ongoing schemes to the people," the duo urged.
"All important policy decisions of the party (apparently indicating the CM candidate choice for 2021 Assembly polls), the stand in respect of alliances, will be taken by the party leadership by following Amma's footsteps in a democratic way," they said, adding such decisions would reflect the voice of the cadres.
Also, they asked workers and leaders to work unitedly and avoid giving an opportunity to the "avarice" of rivals.
"It is time for everyone to work together to win a series of victories again without giving a chance to the greed of those who think they have defeated us."
The statement has put to rest speculation on the Chief Ministerial candidate for the moment.
Over ten ministers including D Jayakumar, S P Velumani, P Thangamani, Dindigul C Srinivasan, K A Sengottaiyan, held a discussion for nearly one-and-a-half hours with Panneerselvam.
The ministerial delegation then called on Palaniswami and had a detailed discussion.
The ministers shuttled between the residences of the two leaders and they declined to talk to the waiting media persons.
The CM candidate controversy in the AIADMK was triggered by the remarks of Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju who days ago claimed that AIADMK MLAs elected in the polls would decide their chief ministerial candidate.
Dairy minister K T Rajenthra Bhalaji tweeted on August 11 that K Palaniswami would lead the AIADMK in the 2021 election.
On Saturday, posters hailing Panneerselvam as the only Chief Ministerial candidate blessed by late party supremo J Jayalalithaa for the 2021 Assembly elections, appeared on the walls at several places in Theni district the home district of deputy chief minister - creating a flutter in the party.