On a day that witnessed Madurai South MLA S S Saravanan and Madurai MP R Gopalakrishnan joining the O Panneerselvam camp, AIADMK chief V K Sasikala said the caretaker CM was trying to split the party and his latest actions prove that he was never a loyalist. She reasserted that she had the support of 129 MLAs and that she would form the government. On Monday evening, Panneerselvam camp had the support of eight MLAs and 12 MPs.
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The government, meanwhile, told the Madras High Court Monday that 119 MLAs had given written statements, denying allegations that they were locked up in two beach resorts outside Chennai and stating that they were staying there for “political reasons”. This came in response to a habeas corpus plea filed by one T Analagan, alleging that Srivilliputhur MLA M Chandra Prabha was under the illegal detention of the AIADMK general secretary.
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During a conversation with party cadres Monday, the visuals of which were aired on party mouthpiece Jaya TV, Sasikala said that everyone, including Panneerselvam, had asked her to take over as Chief Minister on the night J Jayalalithaa died. “I refused then as the post of CM was not so important for me. At that moment, being next to Amma’s body was more important,” she told AIADMK workers from the verandah of her Poes Garden residence.
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Sasikala said Panneerselvam was an ordinary man and it was Jayalalithaa who brought him to these heights. “He is the man who is now trying to divide us,” she added. “After Amma’s death, even though I was grieving, I called five ministers, including Panneerselvam, and asked them to take charge of the government as we had no time to waste,” she said.
Sasikala said her story is also similar to that of ‘Amma’. She said she would collect grievances from partyworkersfor Jayalalithaa, something Jayalalithaa did for MGR. “I did what I was asked to do, what she did for MGR,” she said.