Rebel AIADMK MLA VC Arukutty today joined the Chief Minister K Palainiswami-led faction, two days after expressing displeasure over being ‘sidelined’ in the camp of former chief minister O Panneerselvam. Arukutty, among the first legislators to rally behind Panneerselvam after he revolted against the party leadership in February last, met Palanisamy in Salem, about 160 km from Coimbatore, and joined the AIADMK (Amma) party. The development was seen as a morale booster for the ruling faction, though the Panneerselvam camp sought to play it down.
The MLA, representing Kaundampalayam in Coimbatore, said he had been sidelined of in the Panneerselvam camp and had no other option but to join Palaniswami faction after talking to the people of his constituency. “It is for the welfare of the constituency, as development projects will not come there if I continue to oppose the government,” he said.
Reacting to the development, former minister and senior leader in AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) camp K P Munusamy said “he has gone there out of selfishness.” Arukutty’s earlier decision to back Panneerselvam was a result of people’s clamour for it, he told reporters in Chennai. Now, however, only the legislator had walked away to the Palaniswami camp leaving the “conscience of the people with us,” he said.
Declining to answer a question if pressure was mounted on Arukutty allegedly by the government in respect of a police case, he said there was nothing much to talk about the legislator. “It is not a subject to discuss. We do not want to make any allegation against Aarukutty since he has gone there,” the former minister said.
Arukutty was the first MLA to come out openly in support of Paneerselvam when most legislators in Coimbatore district were camping in Koovathur resort. He had on July 21 come out in the public expressing displeasure at the way he was being treated in the Panneerselvam camp and indicated he might go back to the ruling faction.
Panneerselvam had the same day quipped, “Arukutty came on his own and he has now left on his own.” Both factions of the AIADMK have staked claim to the party’s symbol and flag with the issue pending before the Election Commission. The ruling faction had earlier appealed to all those who left the party to come back to its fold.