The political crisis in Tamil Nadu continues to drag on. The shifting power struggle within the ruling AIADMK saw caretaker CM O Panneerselvam’s camp getting the support of five more MPs on Sunday, taking the total number of MPs to 10.
Party MPs Rajendran and Lakshmanan extended support to Panneerselvam on Sunday afternoon. Earlier in the day AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs Jaisingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin), Senguttuvan (Vellore) and R P Marutharaja (Perambalur) also extended their support to him.
The MPs called on Panneerselvam at his Greenways Road residence on Sunday morning and extended solidarity to him.
Four AIADMK Lok Sabha MPS — P R Sundaram, K Ashok Kumar, V Sathyabama and Vanaroja — had already switched over to the Chief Minister’s camp, pledging support to him. Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan is also in the Panneerselvam camp.
Panneerselvam at present also enjoys the support of seven MLAs, including himself. In the 235-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, AIADMK has 135 MLAs.
AIADMK Fisheries wing Joint Secretary K A Jeyapaul, a Minister in the 2011-16 Jayalalithaa cabinet and former Erode Mayor Mallika Paramasivan also joined the Panneerselvam camp.
Meanwhile, leading the other camp, VK Sasikala, a close aide of former party chief and CM Jayalalithaa, played the woman card.
“It is very difficult for a woman to be in politics. Have seen it during Jayalalithaa’s time also,” said Sasikala her party MLAs who are said to be holed up in a resort near Chennai.
This is the second time that Sasikala went to meet her MLAs at the resort.
She also said,”AIADMK govt will continue for the next four-and-a-half years. I can say this as party General Secretary.”
On February 5, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala was elected as the party’s Legislature Leader, a step towards her elevation as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
However, two days later, Panneerselvam had raised a revolt against her, alleging he was forced to step down.
AIADMK has 37 MPs in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha.
(With inputs from PTI)