In a fresh twist to Tamil Nadu politics, Chief Minister O Paneerselvam on Tuesday said he was forced to resign and clear the way for Sasikala who was on Sunday made the legislative party head of the AIADMK. Talking to media after a surprise visit to pay homage to Jayalalithaa, Paneerselvam said, “Amma wanted me to be the chief minister.’ Panneerselvam, who reached the memorial alone, meditated for around 40 minutes and sat with his eyes closed.
WATCH VIDEO | Emotional VK Sasikala pays tribute at Jayalalithaa’s memorial
While briefing the media, he made some startling revelations when he said he came here because his conscience was pricking, adding that he wanted to tell some truth to the people of this country. “I have performed my duty without any shortcomings and carried forward path shown by Amma. Worked with utmost dedication to fulfill Amma’s dreams, ” he said. “When she was in the hospital I asked her, she (Jayalalithaa) asked me to take over as CM. I never wanted to be CM, they made me CM, then why insult me. Revenue Minister, R B Udhayakumar, said Sasikala should take over as CM, when I was the CM. I complained to Sasikala about Udhayakumar. To bring this to light, I came to Jaya’s memorial,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sasikala issued a whip to all MLAs as she called for an urgent cabinet meeting at Poes Garden.
WATCH VIDEO| “I Was Forced To Tender Resignation, Will Take It Back If Asked To”: Panneerselvam
He further alleged that at a meeting at Sasikala’s place senior party leaders were present and question of her being CM came. “I asked how far was this justified,” he said, adding that only when he was forced, did he step down from CM post. “I was informed that Sasikala should take over as CM. When I asked what’s the necessity, they told me one person should have both posts.”
Paneerselvam, during the briefing, made it clear that his reason for attending the memorial was to bring these facts in front of the public. “I am saying these facts in front of you to make things clear in public I will continue to struggle. I will take back my resignation if party workers and people ask me to. One who can protect AIADMK and the government should become CM, even if it’s not me.”
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Speaking on cyclone Vardah, he said, “When the Tamil Nadu government received credit while handling Vardah cyclone, this irked the Sasikala faction,” said Panneerselvam. After these revelations, celebrations took place outside Panneerselvam’s residence by his supporters. One of his supporters said, “Our brother OPS will lead us, no one can stop him. He will be the only CM.” Another supporter told news agency ANI: “O Panneerselvam grew from the grass roots, he is connected with the people so we want him to remain CM.”
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Rival DMK’s M K Stalin told Sun News that there’s no proper government in Tamil Nadu. “The governor should come and resolve the issue. Action must be taken against all those who allegedly threatened the CM to resign. Those who can threaten CM, can threaten anybody tomorrow,” said Stalin.
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Meanwhile, suspense mounted today over the swearing-in of Sasikala as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu with Governor Vidyasagar Rao deferring his plans to go to Chennai, as charges and counter-charges flew between AIADMK and rebel leaders over the death of J Jayalalithaa. In the wake of uncertainty over Governor Rao’s plans, the AIADMK asserted it was the constitutional obligation of the Governor to swear in Sasikala as Chief Minister and that there is no ground for stopping it.
Amidst hectic activities, former Speaker of state Assembly P H Pandian and his son Manoj, a party functionary, vehemently opposed Sasikala being made the chief minister and alleged foul play in the death of J Jayalalithaa. To counter Pandian’s allegations, AIADMK fielded two of its top leaders Panruti Ramachandran and K A Sengottaiyan at a press conference today where they rejected his allegations and dubbed him as a “betrayer” who was causing “confusion.
(With PTI inputs)