Sasikala to meet AIADMK MLAs at resort, 6 more leaders join Panneerselvam

Monday, 13 February 2017

Amidst the power struggle within Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK, the O Panneerselvam camp got a boost on Sunday with five MPs and one former minister pledging support to the Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Sunday’s developments take the total count of MPs backing Panneerselvam to 10. The AIADMK has 37 members in Lok Sabha. Until recently, all of them were with AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala.

MLA and school education minister K Pandiarajan as also MPs PR Sundaram, K Ashok Kumar and Satyabama and R Vanaroja switched over to the chief minister’s camp on Saturday, pledging their support to him, amid mounting pressure from the party cadres and apparent public sentiment.

MPs B Senguttuvan, Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee, RP Marutharaja, R Lakshmanan, S Rajendran and MLA P Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy switched to the Panneerselvam camp on Sunday.

Read | Panneerselvam vs Sasikala: 10 points about Tamil Nadu’s power struggle

Panneerselvam, who was named the chief minister after J Jayalalithaa’s death in December, quit on February 5, clearing the way for Sasikala’s elevation to the state’s top job. The governor accepted his resignation the next day but on Wednesday Panneerselvam revolted, saying he was forced to resign and was willing to reconsider his decision.

Live updates:

3: 46pm: “Hurdles and betrayals are the path which we have crossed,” Sasikala says, adding, “A letter has been circulated as if I have written it. It shows there are people who cannot tolerate a lady getting into politics.”

3:20pm: Sasikala has left Poes Garden and is on her way to meet party MLAs. She says she is not scared of threats and it was by “tiding rough sea that AIADMK reached the pinnacle of its success.” She also alleged that the it was the same group that rebelled against Jayalalithaa that is attacking her faction now.

“True party people are the foundation of AIADMK. We have faith in democracy,” Sasikala says. “You will come to know why only MPs are going there (OPS). Sasikala told reporters, hinting at who was behind revolt, without taking names.