It’s Panneerselvam vs Sasikala in Tamil Nadu

Aparna Parekh
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after end of a meditation in front of late J Jayalalithaa's burial site at the Marina Beach in Chennai on Tuesday. On Sunday, he tendered his resignation from the post paving the way for AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala to become Chief Minister.  PTI Photo

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after end of a meditation in front of late J Jayalalithaa’s burial site at the Marina Beach in Chennai on Tuesday. On Sunday, he tendered his resignation from the post paving the way for AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala to become Chief Minister. PTI Photo

AIADMK in Tamil Nadu is witnessing an open revolt by O Panneerselvam, the former chief minister, who resigned two days ago to make way for VK Sasikala as chief minister of the state.

The political crisis in Tamil Nadu deepened within hours as Panneerselvam, an Amma loyalist, did a u-turn to again eye the CM’s post, which he gave up citing personal reasons.

Pannerselvam now claims that he was forced to resign.

“I was called to the meeting about which I did not even know. I went to Chinamma (Sasikala) and they asked me to resign. They said I should resign to make Sasikala the CM.…For two hours they tried to convince me. But I asked them whether it is fair to ask me to resign after having elected me the leader of the AIADMK legislature party which I did not want in the first place. Still, I tolerated all the insult just to maintain party discipline,” said Panneerselvam.

PanneerselvamHe also played the Amma card saying, the late chief minister and party chief had wanted him to takeover over as CM when she was in hospital. Not just that, he also raised questions about her death.

“For 75 days I went to the hospital. But I could not meet her (Jayalalithaa) even once. Even my family members used to ask me every day whether I met Amma. At one stage, I even thought of lying that I had met her. But I did not do so…We were informed that Amma was recovering. We were confident. When we came to know that Amma has passed away, we felt we have lost all our powers,” the former CM told a Tamil TV channel.

Panneerselvam also claimed to probe Amma’s death.

“An inquiry commission headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge will probe the doubts regarding Jayalalithaa’s health,” announced Panneerselvam.

In a tit-for-tat reaction in order to quell the revolt, Sasikala, the party’s General Secretary removed Panneerselvam as the party’s Treasurer.

AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala flashes a victory sign after attending the party MLA's meeting in which she was elected as a AIADMK Legislative party leader, set to become Tamil Nadu CM, at Party's Headquarters in Chennai on 05 February 2017.

AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala flashes a victory sign after attending the party MLA’s meeting in which she was elected as a AIADMK Legislative party leader, set to become Tamil Nadu CM, at Party’s Headquarters in Chennai on 05 February 2017.

She also accused him of being a DMK mole, a charge denied by both DMK and Panneerselvam.

“DMK is behind Panneerselvam…the reason is that in the recent Assembly session the Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition were looking at each other and laughing together,” Sasikala said at a press meet late on Tuesday evening.

Both factions have gone into a huddle to amass maximum support within the party. Sasikala reached the party headquarters in Chennai, where party workers gathered to show her support.
A huge crowd had gathered outside Panneerselvam’s residence on Tuesday night since his revolt.

On Wednesday afternoon Panneerselvam vowed to show his strength in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Governor who was to return to the state to swear-in a new chief minister, has decided to remain put in Mumbai for the time being.