Amid the crisis within the ruling AIADMK party in Tamil Nadu, acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has today said that those who are true followers of J Jayalithaa are with him. Things seems to be getting worse for AIADMK leader V K Sasikala as another senior leader C Ponnaiyan joined O. Panneerselvam camp on Saturday evening, becoming the second senior party member in the day to take this major step after Tamil Nadu’s Education Minister K Pandiarajan. Ponnaiyan met caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam at his residence to lend support to him.
While addressing the media he said Panneerselvam is the only person who can lead the party. “O. Panneerselvam is the only person who can lead the party, no one else can including Sasikala Natarajan. In present situation, person who has been with the party for so many years & assumed duty of CM for two times is only OPS,” he added. He also said that OPS was handpicked by Jayalalithaa to lead the party.
Earlier in the day, K Pandiarajan said that Panneerselvam camp has a lot of support and it will grow in the coming days. “Our number will be more than what it is today. It will land at 135,” he added.
Panneerselvam also confirmed that he has party people on his side and called Sasikala “temporary general secretary” of the party. He said, “The Council can only appoint a temporary general secretary. Proper elections have to be held to elect a general secretary according to the party bye-laws. People are on my side.”
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He was also confident of seeking support from Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar and said that he always had respect for Jayalaithaa’s children. “I have always had respect for Amma’s brother’s children. I will give Deepa the respect she needs.” The acting Chief Minister also said he has the support of the AIA DMK leaders and would prove his majority in the assembly.