The O Panneerselvam camp got a boost on Sunday with more lawmakers and one former minister pledging support to the acting Tamil Nadu chief minister in the power struggle within Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK.
Sunday’s developments take the total count of MPs backing Panneerselvam to 10. The AIADMK has 37 members in Lok Sabha. Until recently, all of them were with AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala.
Amid mounting pressure from the party cadres and apparent public sentiment, MPs B Senguttuvan, Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee, RP Marutharaja, R Lakshmanan, S Rajendran and MLA P Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy switched to the Panneerselvam camp on Sunday.
Panneerselvam, who was named the chief minister after J Jayalalithaa’s death in December, quit on February 5, clearing the way for Sasikala’s elevation to the state’s top job. The governor accepted his resignation the next day but on Wednesday Panneerselvam revolted, saying he was forced to resign and was willing to reconsider his decision.
Here are the highlights of happenings on Sunday:
10.15pm: VK Sasikala reaches Poes Garden residence in Chennai after meeting AIADMK legislators at Golden Bay resort in Kuvathur.
9.15pm: Panneerselvam says he had earlier said he was forced to resign. “I explained to the governor what exactly happened,” he says.
9.12pm: Caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam says Sasikala is only an interim general secretary, and Election Commission should hold a poll for the post.
9.09pm: “Amma had many servants. Does that mean all of them can become Amma?” asks Panneerselvam.
9.08pm: Theni MP Parthiban is the ninth AIADMK Lok Sabha member to extend support to Panneerselvam. OPS assures media that action will be taken against goons who attacked press at Kuvathur.
9.04pm: Amma threw all of Sasikala’s family out of Poes Garden and told party members to not have any dealings with them, says Panneerselvam.
9pm: The caretaker chief minister says he didn’t go and call any MLA. “People are coming of their own will,” he says.
8.59pm: Panneerselvam says shedding crocodile tears, passing new remarks every day is not going to help. “Will prove everything in assembly,” the caretaker chief minister says.
8.57pm: Panneerselvam says: “Who is Amma’s blood relative? Deepa was crying because she was not allowed to see Amma’s body.”
8.55pm: Panneerselvam says that in the last 15 years, since 2001, Amma was the one who saved him from numerous problems and had never once said any bad words to him even when she was angry.
8.52pm: “Tamils here and across the globe have said they will not allow Sasikala to become CM,” says Panneerselvam.
8.50pm: O Panneerselvam hits out at Sasikala, says people voted for all of the MLAs in the name of Amma.
8.49pm: “Sasikala was the only one with Amma inside hospital. Did she come out once to tell people Amma was doing well?” asks Panneerselvam.
8.47pm: Many AIADMK cadres who are not even in Chennai are voicing their opinion against Sasikala assuming charge as TN chief minister, says Panneerselvam.
8.45pm: Panneerselvam says even today many AIADMK MLAs are contacting him and telling, for each MLA there are four ‘gundas’ sitting.
8.35pm: Sasikala breaks down, says after becoming general secretary, she went to Amma’s memorial but couldn’t get out of there, “magnetic power didn’t let me go away”.
8.29pm: Sasikala urges AIADMK MLAs to “pledge for our victory, after which we will visit Amma’s memorial and dedicate it to her”.
8.25pm: I will achieve everything if you all stand firmly behind me, I won’t move away, I will be firm as I have been with ‘Amma’, Sasikala tells AIADMK MLAs lodged at the resort.
8.23pm: Sasikala says portrait of Amma has to be installed in state assembly to show gratitude. “Some people with us don’t want it to happen,” she says.
8.20pm: We will form the govt, then visit Amma’s memorial, take a photograph and show it to the world. This is our pledge: ANI quoting VK Sasikala
8.19pm: Sasikala launches strong counter offensive, says Panneerselvam who was a minister for so long, is today all out to destroy. It is same as hitting your eye with your own finger, she says.
8.16pm: Sasikala breaks down while addressing party MLAs, says she will even give her life to protect Amma’s legacy, party and carry it forward.
8.12pm: I think there is a person called Pannerselvam who you have forgotten till now, Sasikala tells party MLAs at Golden Bay resort.
8.06pm: You all are aware as to what extent our opponents have gone against us, we must stay together and foil their evil attempts: VK Sasikala.
AIADMK tussle | VK Sasikala addresses MLAs at Golden Bay resort in Kuvathur— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) February 12, 2017
8.05pm: VK Sasikala addresses AIADMK legislators lodged at Golden Bay resort in Kuvathur.
7.42pm: “Party workers, and forces now opposing us will not succeed in their attempts, won’t let it happen,” says Sasikala.
7.41pm: “We are working on it,” says Sasikala on being asked if she would protest if not invited to form government.
7.40pm: When asked about pending verdict in DA case, Sasikala says, “Let it come, I will see.”
7.36pm: Opposition parties are spreading rumours. AIADMK MLAs are not locked up, says Sasikala.
7.34pm: “All of you can see for yourselves that no one has been locked up,” says Sasikala, as she allows media to enter resort where MLAs have been lodged.
7.03pm: Sasikala allows media to enter resort after scuffle AIADMK supporters had with media. “All of you can see for yourselves that no one has been locked up,” says Sasikala.
6.51pm: AIADMK MP V Maitreyan who had gone to meet the governor returns to OPS’s residence
6.31pm: Meeting between Sasikala and AIADMK legislators lodged at Golden Bay resort begins.
6. 10pm: Media persons stage a protest demanding action against AIADMK supporters for allegedly preventing and abusing them at the Kuvattur resort
6.07pm: Posters have been put up outside the residence of OPS in Chennai saying O Panneerselvam is Amma’s only political heir.
5.57pm: Police personnel have been deployed outside the Raj Bhavan in Chennai.
5.25pm: Supporters performed ‘Aarti’ in front of VK Sasikala when she was en route to Kuvathur’s Golden Bay resort.
5.19pm: Rajya Sabha AIADMK MP V Maitreyan reaches Raj Bhavan to call on governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
5.02pm: Supporters chant slogans for Panneerselvam as he meets and greets the crowd gathered at his residence in Chennai.
5.07pm: Sasikala says the delay in swearing in was only to divide the AIADMK. But AIADMK will not split and stay united to fulfill Amma’s dreams
5.02pm: I have extensively worked with Panneerselvam, he is a very nice man. Under his leadership, one can pop his collar and walk, says Manobala
5.01pm: Tamil director, producer and actor Manobala extends support to Panneerselvam.
4.47pm: OS Maniman, an MLA from Sasikala camp, says 127 legislators are with Chinnamma and determined to make her CM. OPS has just 6 or 7 MLAs with him, he says.
4.10pm: Sasikala says the letter which claims to have been written by her is false.
The letter which claims to have been written by me is false- Respected Chinnamma— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) February 12, 2017
3: 46pm: “Hurdles and betrayals are the path which we have crossed,” Sasikala says, adding, “A letter has been circulated as if I have written it. It shows there are people who cannot tolerate a lady getting into politics.”
3:20pm: Sasikala has left Poes Garden and is on her way to meet party MLAs. She says she is not scared of threats and it was by “tiding rough sea that AIADMK reached the pinnacle of its success.” She also alleged that the it was the same group that rebelled against Jayalalithaa that is attacking her faction now.
“True party people are the foundation of AIADMK. We have faith in democracy,” Sasikala says. “You will come to know why only MPs are going there (OPS). Sasikala told reporters, hinting at who was behind revolt, without taking names.
Hurdles and betrayals are the path which we have crossed- Respected Chinnamma— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) February 12, 2017
2:30pm: Panneerselvam is likely to visit the Golden Bay resort where AIADMK MLAs are allegedly ‘detained’, sources tell HT.
An MLA at the resort tells news channels that they are there by choice:
Staying by choice,no compulsion.Heard that OPS will come here&seek support but he has no right-T.Tamilselvan MLA lodged at Koovathur resort pic.twitter.com/8DVYf1eOkv— ANI (@ANI_news) February 12, 2017
2:20pm: There are now reports that missing person complaints have been filed in many constituencies for AIADMK leaders, including fisheries minister Jayakumar, MLA R Chandrasekhar.
2:10pm: ANI reports that Tamil Nadu’s education minister K Pandiarajan, who pledged support to Panneerselvam on Saturday, is meeting VK Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan at their residence.
2:00pm: Waiting for governor’s response, If nothing comes by today, GS Sasikala will announce next move, says AIADMK MP R Vaithiligam. “Whether the next course of action will be protest or legal remedy to be decided by Sasikala.”
1:40pm: Soon after the party’s official handle tweeted that R Lakshmanan has been expelled from his post as district secretary, ANI reports that he and another AIADMK MP S Rajendran meet Panneerselvam and extend their support.
1:15pm: AIADMK MP R Lakshmanan expelled from Vizhupuram North district secretary post, tweets AIADMK, after reports that he is joining O Panneerselvam. CV Shanmugham will replace him.
Announcement-Expelled-Dr.R.Lakshmanan,MP- District Secretary,Vizhupuram North.— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) February 12, 2017
Minister C.Ve Shanmugham appointed to the post. pic.twitter.com/e1geu85lJX
12:45pm: Senior AIADMK leader and former minister P Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy has now sided with Panneerselvam.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says on Twitter that a writ petition charging ‘abetment of horse trading’ if the Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao does not settle the issue by Monday. Ever since the issue of government formation has broken out, Swamy has been favouring AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala to be sworn-in as chief minister, saying she has the numbers in her favour.
12:20pm: DMK working president MK Stalin to chair a high-level action council meeting of the party on Monday, reports ANI.
11:45am: Another MP, RP Marutharaja from Perambalur, is reportedly at Panneerselvam’s home. He becomes the third MP to pledge support on Sunday, the seventh in two days.
The Tamil Nadu BJP chief, Tamilisai Soundarrajan, says the governor should ascertain if MLAs are being threatened, as the CM said he was forced to resign.
11:15am: Now, former MP Ramarajan goes to Panneerselvam’s residence:
10:50am: Missing persons complaint filed for two government ministers - S Valarmathi at Tiruchi police station and R Duraikannu at Papanasam station in Thanjavur.
10:30am: Two more sitting Lok Sabha AIADMK MPs extended their support to acting Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam. The two -- B.Senguttuvan from Vellore constituency and Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee from Tuticorin constituency -- visited Panneerselvam at his residence.
“We expect six more MLAs to join,” an AIADMK leader told IANS. With two MPs expressing their support to Panneerselvam, the total number of sitting Lok Sabha members in Pannerselvam’s camp has gone up to six and one in Rajya Sabha. The AIADMK has 37 MPs in Lok Sabha.
(With agency inputs)