In a dramatic development, AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala alleged that the main opposition DMK was behind O Panneerselvam’s revolt against her and asserted that all the party MLAs were with her and hence there is “no problem” in her becoming the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. “All the MLAs are there like a single family, so there is no problem,” she told reporters at a crowded press meet.
This was Sasikala’s very first interaction with journalists, albeit at an impromptu press meet in front of her residence at around 1.15 AM. Though she had addressed party leaders and MLAs after taking over as party chief in December last, this was her first interaction with journalists. Asked if Panneerselvam, who was removed from the post of party treasurer, would also be removed from AIADMK’s primary membership, she asserted, “for sure, we will do it.”
When asked if she thought that her swearing-in was being delayed by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, though she has been elected leader of the legislature party, she shot back “I feel the same what you feel.” In reply to another question, she said “DMK is behind Panneerselvam…the reason is that in the recent Assembly session the Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition were looking at each other and laughing together.”
She denied Panneerselvam’s charge that he was coerced to resign, saying “he was saying what he was told.”
Sasikala waved the AIADMK two leaves symbol to party supporters gathered outside the residence, smiled, quickly completed the press meet and went back inside. Earlier, Stalin said Panneerselvam’s statement that he was coerced to quit was shocking and added that his party may seek convening of the Assembly. “In Tamil Nadu, a situation of a virtual absence of government has arisen, that Sasikala not at all allow Panneerselvam to function has become very clear from the utterances of the Chief Minister,” Stalin said.
BJP leader H Raja said the Governor has many options now. “He can check if the signatures affixed by MLAs voicing support for Sasikala was out of their own volition.”
He also said that the legality of Panneerselvam’s resignation has come under a cloud. Former Union minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss tweeted “Request TN Governor to hear each and every MLA’s consensus individually before appointing the next CM of TN.”