Minutes after launching his rebellion against VK Sasikala, O Panneerselvam has been removed from the post of AIADMK treasurer, news agency PTI reported on Wednesday. Dindigul Sreenivasan has been appointed in his place. In a dramatic turn of events, the acting Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu said he was forced to resign and clear the way for Sasikala, who was made the legislative party head of the AIADMK on Sunday. Soon after the incident, an emergency meeting of senior AIADMK party leaders and ministers was held at Sasikala Natarajan’s Poes Garden residence.
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Sasikala also projected a united face while waving supporters outside Poes Garden. She claimed that she did not force Panneerselvam to quit, describing the former’s allegation as incorrect. “No confusion or problem in our party, we are united like a family,” Sasikala Natarajan said. She also said that Panneerselvam is hand in glove with the DMK. “DMK is behind O Pannerselvam. In recent assembly session opposition leader and O Pannerselvam exchanged warmth, they were smiling at each other,” she said.
In a brief statement, Sasikala said “O Panneerselvam is being relieved from the post of AIADMK treasurer and Dindigul C Srinivasan is appointed to that post. Party cadres should extend their full cooperation to Srinivasan.”
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After making a surprise visit to Jayalalithaa’s ‘Samadhi’, Panneerselvam 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. Making some startling revelations, he said he came here because his conscience was pricking and added that he wanted to tell some truth to the people of this country.
Generally known for his calm demeanor, Panneerselvam broke his silence on the happenings within the party ever since the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. He claimed that he was insulted by senior ministers and leaders, accusing them of undermining him after electing him the Chief Minister.
“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
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Further narrating how attempts were made to force him to allow Sasikala’s elevation as CM, Panneerselvam said his main job was to protect the image of the party and the government post Jayalalithaa’s demise. However, he said attempts were made to “sabotage” his efforts.
He also said he will take back his resignation if party workers and people want and that he was ready to fight alone. His rebellion against Sasikala assumes significance as it has thrown a spanner in the works of the Mannargudi family’s attempt to take over Fort St. George.
In what appears to be an act of quick retaliation, Sasikala said Panneerselvam will be expelled from the party and accused opposition DMK as the main party behind the revolt.
On the other hand, supporters continued to throng the Greams Road official residence of Chief Minister Panneerselvam. According to party sources, Panneerselvam would soon come out with a comprehensive plan of action he intends to pursue.
With inputs from agencies.