AIADMK on Wednesday claimed that 131 out of its 134 MLAs attended the meeting chaired by party chief VK Sasikala to discuss the fallout of the revolt by caretaker Chief Minister O Panneeselvam. Party spokesperson CR Saraswathi said “true AIADMK supporters” will not desert the party as they are “Amma’s loyalists” and asserted that Sasikala will take over as Chief Minister.
“As far as we are concerned, about 131 MLAs have come here (party headquarters). We are Amma (Jayalalithaa) loyalists. How can we leave? Chinnamma (Sasikala) will come as Chief Minister,” she said.
She was responding to reporters’ queries on Panneerselvam stating he would prove his majority in the Assembly.
“How could those marching towards Panneerselvam camp be construed as genuine AIADMK members as one could even obtain membership online,” she said.
Tracing the history of AIADMK, post the death of its founder MG Ramachandran, Saraswathi said some even joined the faction led by his widow Janaki but it was Jayalalithaa who united the party and led it to its glory.
“We all want to take forward the task carried out by Amma. Those who treat Amma as God, the leader (party chief) as God and those who equate the party to their life– none of them have deserted the party,” she said.
“True supporters will remain steadfast at Poes Garden. Nobody can split or destroy our party. This is a supporters’ movement,” she said.
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Saraswathi also said it was desirable to have a woman replace Jayalaithaa as Chief Minister as the late leader had delivered a lot of welfare measures for them.
Castigating Panneerselvam for his alleged DMK links, she said MGR had founded AIADMK against that very party.
“DMK and AIADMK are poles apart. Durai Murugan (DMK leader) was supporting Panneerselvam (in the Assembly),” she said.
Backing Sasikala for the state’s top executive post, Saraswathi said “give time for any person to prove her capability”.
“She had been with Amma for 33 years, she knows how to run the party and government,” she added.
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On Panneerselvam’s contention that he was unable to meet Jayalalithaa during her 75-day hospitalisation, she said it has been reported in the media quoting him as saying that she was improving.
“What was he doing all these days and speak out only now,” she asked.