Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has been accorded a VIP security cover by the Central government in view of potential threats to him. Officials said the Union Home Ministry has sanctioned the lowest category of ‘Y’ security cover of central paramilitary forces and has asked the CRPF to take charge of the security of the former CM. They said a recent incident of hurling of stones on the vehicle of Panneerselvam, who has revolted against the leadership of ruling AIADMK, in the Theni district of the state and few other similar developments prompted a security audit by central intelligence and security agencies.
A delegation led by AIADMK MP and Panneerselvam loyalist V Maitreyan had also met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh sometime back and had demanded central security for the ex-CM in view of his hectic travelling and movement due to the upcoming bypolls in the RK Nagar constituency. The bypolls here are scheduled for April 12 as the seat fell vacant after the death of sitting chief minister J Jayalalithaa last year.
The threat perception report prepared by the agencies, they said, recommended that Panneerselvam should be provided a security cover of trained commandos, which was recently approved by the Home Ministry. Officials said a commando team of 3-4 CRPF personnel will soon take charge of Panneerselvam’s security and will provide proximate armed security to him everytime he moves in any part of Tamil Nadu.
A Central Reserve Police Force team from its base in Chennai will be deployed with Panneerselvam from early next week, they added. Radhakrishna Nagar, an AIADMK fortress since 2001, will witness factional rivalry for the first time. The party had retained the seat even when the rival DMK swept the rest of Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa won a by-election from here with a margin of 1.5 lakh votes in 2015.
While a victory for the Sasikala faction here would help her consolidate her grip over both party and government, the Panneerselvam group wants to win it to wrest claim on Jaya’s legacy. Sasikala’s nephew T T V Dinakaran is facing party veteran E Madhusudhanan in the bypoll.