Caretaker Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam was never loyal to the party, his opponent and AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala said on Monday, alleging he was removed by the party because he was too close to opposition DMK.
Speaking to cadre and media in Chennai, Sasikala alleged many were scheming to break the AIADMK when she was busy arranging for late CM Jayalalithaa’s final rites, an indirect reference to Paneerselvam.
“I’m ready to give my life for this govt. For 33 years, us two women (Sasikala and Jayalalithaa) managed to stay strong. We’re not afraid of anything,” Sasikala said.
“However many men come from the opposition, I’ll be the woman to face them. As long as cadre is there, no one can harm me.”
The bruising fight for the chief minister’s post began after Panneerselvam – popularly known as OPS – alleged last week he was forced to resign.
Since then, both sides have issued tit-for-tat statements and Sasikala has sent 120-plus party MLAs, more than the majority mark in the assembly, to a resort near Chennai. But several leaders from her faction have joined OPS in the past two days.
Sasikala repeatedly invoked her mentor Jayalalithaa , who died on December 5, and said she convinced the late CM to join politics.
The 61-year-old said many in the party wanted her to take over when Jayalalithaa died.
“But I told them only my Akka was important to me. I was in grief. The CM role did not seem important,” Sasikala added.
"I used to read letters sent by cadres & told Amma of people's issues. I never thought of becoming CM when Amma died," Sasikala @htTweets— Aditya Iyer (@Theadityaiyer) February 13, 2017
"But he was being supported by DMK, so we decided to take action. He pushed us, we didn't do it by ourselves," Sasikala @htTweets— Aditya Iyer (@Theadityaiyer) February 13, 2017
“I wanted Amma’s government to continue. But OPS was too friendly with them (DMK). It disturbed me,” Sasikala said.