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Finally Panneerselvam hits out against Sasikala

PanneerselvamCHENNAI: With his visit to mentor J Jayalalithaa’s beach-side memorial last night, O Panneerselvam made an important political statement.

He followed that with an important political statement-that he was coerced and humiliated into resigning as Chief Minister, and that if the cadre wants, he will withdraw that resignation.

Today, he proclaimed that he will prove himself as the rightful head of state by taking a trust vote.

With that, the 66-year-old, whose career highs came from doing as he was told, made it clear that he’s going off script and will try to split the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

To highlight that he is mistaken and in a minority, VK Sasikala, who is meant to replace him as Chief Minister is taking a number of steps today, including a visit of her own to Ms Jayalalithaa’s grave, a landmark on Marina Beach.

Here are the 10 latest developments in Tamil Nadu:

1. Ms Sasikala, a political ingenue at 61, met this morning with AIADMK legislators at Ms Jaylaalithaa’s home where she still lives. Of the party’s 134 lawmakers, about 100 are on her side. She is likely to address the media later today, said party sources.

2. Panneerselvam said Sasikala and her supporters got annoyed with the success of his government on issues like jallikattu protests, mitigating of drinking water crisis in Chennai, setting right the damage caused by Vardah cyclone.

3. VK Sasikala soon after the emergency meet with party MLAs, addressed a press conference. She alleged that the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazakham (DMK) was behind O Panneerselvam’s revolt against her and asserted that all the party MLAs are with her and hence there is “no problem” in her becoming the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

4. Panneerselvam was also removed from the post of party treasurer and would also be removed from AIADMK’s primary membership, Sasikala announced.

5. Soon after being removed from the post of AIADMK treasurer by party General Secretary VK Sasikala, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said no one had the right to do so and rubbished her claims that DMK was behind his moves.

6. DMK Working President MK Stalin too extended support for Panneerselvam and said that action should be taken against those who had threatened him to resign from the post of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

7. Congress blamed BJP-led National Democratic Alliance Government at the Centre for the political chaos going on in Tamil Nadu and alleged that the latter is trying to utilize the situation to stamp the presence of the saffron party in the state. “Modi government is playing dirty game. They want to create problem for the political parties and they want to get some advantage as BJP has no hold in Tamil Nadu and they think this an opportunity to be utilized,” state Congress president S Thirunavukkarasar was quoted as saying by ANI.

8. As soon as Paneerselvam concluded his explosive press conference on Marina Beach, he had already become hero for netizens cutting across party lines. Appreciating Paneerselvam’s declaration, DMK MLA from Chepauk-Triplicane J Anbazhagan tweeted congratulated him for his bold speech while joint secretary of the AIADMK IT wing Hari Prabhakaran tweeted in support of OPS, saying that he was not afraid of being removed from his post.

9. Sasikala is already waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict in the 20-year-old disproportionate assets case involving late former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa. A positive judgment will solidify Sasikala’s standing as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, whereas a conviction will come as a blow to her run to the CM’s chair.

10. On Tuesday, veteran ADMK leader PH Pandian claimed that Sasikala’s elevation was against party norms, saying she didn’t have the locus standi to either be the party chief or chief minister. “Within 20 days after the demise of Jayalalithaa, party leaders were made to say that they wanted Sasikala to be the party chief and added that it was against party rules. Only cadres can elect the general secretary,” Pandian had said.

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