In its first public protest, the O Panneerselvam-led AIADMK faction on Thursday observed a day-long fast across Tamil Nadu demanding a probe into the death of J Jayalalithaa. Winding up the protest, which saw the participation of hundreds of supporters here and in the district headquarters, Panneerselvam said he was ready to face any probe into the “suspicious” circumstances surrounding the death of Jayalalithaa.
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The fast was led by senior leader E Madusudanan and attended by C Ponnaiyan and P H Pandian among others. Similar hunger strikes were staged across the state. In Avadi, former School Education Minister K Pandiarajan led the protest. In Tirunelveli, it was held under the leadership of former MP Manoj Pandian.
In Coimbatore, more than 2,000 AIADMK workers, including local MLAs P C Arukutty, O K Chinnaraj and P G R Arunkumar, participated in the fast.
Addressing the participants at the Rajarathinam Stadium here, Panneerselvam hit out at AIADMK chief V K Sasikala and her family, saying “our fight will continue till a judicial inquiry or a CBI probe is ordered”.
“To retrieve our party from the clutches of V K Sasikala, to get back our government from the hold of her family, our dharma yudh will continue. We are ready to make sacrificies for it,” Panneerselvam, who revolted against the party leadership last month, said.
He also disputed the remarks of state Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan that he (Panneerselvam) was also apprised of Jayalalithaa’s serious condition on December 5, saying he was not informed about the former Chief Minister’s health status.
Panneerselvam threatened to file a case against him if he did not withdraw a statement he made on Monday while releasing medical reports of Jayalalithaa.
On March 6, Radhakrishnan, quoting hospital reports, had said that senior ministers and political leaders including Panneerselvam were apprised of the serious condition of Jayalalithaa on December 5.
Citing this, Panneerselvam said, “As far as I am concerned, no information was conveyed to me. If he does not withdraw his statement, I categorically state that I will file a case against him in court.”
He said not once were they allowed to see Amma though they had stayed put at the hospital all along. The Sasikala camp did not even listen to suggestions that Jayalalithaa should be taken to the UK or the US for treatment, he claimed.
Referring to Health Minister C Vijayabaskar’s remarks that “Panneerselvam will be first inquired if there were to be a judicial inquiry”, he said he was ready to face any probe. “Let them come and inquire, I will tell them what happened,” the three-time former Chief Minister said.
True to the legacy of late leaders M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, “this party and the government will always be of the people and by the people”, Panneerselvam said.