TN CM row highlights: OPS blocks AIADMK bank accounts, Sasikala rounds up MLAs
O Panneerselvam, who resigned as Tamil Nadu chief minister on Sunday, made a surprise visit to his predecessor J Jayalalithaa’s memorial in Chennai, saying he had gone there to “clear his conscience”.
Tamil Nadu’s caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam announced an inquiry into the death of late CM J Jayalalithaa, a day after his revolt against AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala.
He said doubts prevailed over her health condition and that the people of Tamil Nadu deserved to be told the truth about her illness and death.
The announcement came within hours of Panneerselvam rebelling against CM-designate VK Sasikala, when he alleged that certain members of the ruling AIADMK party forced him to resign.
In response, party general secretary Sasikala removed him as AIADMK treasurer after an emergency meeting with party leaders and cabinet ministers. She further said that he would be removed from the party itself.
Read | Stealth and strategy: How VK Sasikala plotted her way to the top of Tamil Nadu politics
Here are the updates
10: 40pm: AIADMK lawmakers arrive in New Delhi, reports ANI.
8:12pm: AIADMK leaders supporting Sasikala gather at state minister Edappadi K Palanisami’s residence in Chennai, reports ANI.
7:50pm: Thirteen AIADMK MPs left Chennai for Delhi, earlier this evening: ANI
7:09pm: Sasikala says news that there was a delay in taking Jayalalithaa to the hospital is incorrect. “The first person I called was the deputy superintendent of police... As far as I am concerned, my elder sister knows how I took care of her. Everybody in the hospital also knows,” she tells CNN News-18 in an interview
7:05pm: “A 100% yes, I will be sworn in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu,” says Sasikala in during an interview with CNN News-18
7:02pm: No one knew the grief I felt when Jayalalithaa died, Sasikala says of her friend during the interview
7pm: Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is expected to reach Chennai tomorrow afternoon, ANI reports
6:50pm: “When DMK was in power there were many instances where they never stood for the interest of people. We have always stood for the people of Tamil Nadu,” she said in the interview
6:45pm: The AIADMK general secretary once again blamed the DMK for the current situation, saying its motive is to destroy the AIADMK
6:43pm: “Panneerselvam’s accusations are baseless. It’s not true that he was forced to resign. Time will give the best reply to him,” she said in the interview to CNN News 18
6:40pm: VK Sasikala gives an interview to CNN News 18, and breaks down. Says the time during Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation was a tough time. “I am ready to face any probe over Jayalalithaa’s death.”
3:35pm: Around 130 AIADMK lawmakers have been sent in a bus to a five-star hotel near the Chennai airport. TV reports say the MPs will be flown to Delhi to meet the President over the governor’s delay in swearing-in Sasikala.
Meanwhile, ANI shows a crowd of supporters outside Panneerselvam’s residence in Chennai.
3:30pm: Amma appointed me, but I was sacked because I supported OPS.I congratulate the new person appointed but I’ll continue to work on Amma’s path, says G Ramachandran
2:55pm: Sasikala sacks AIADMK’s IT wing secretary G Ramachandran for anti-party activities and appoints VVR Raj Sathyan in his place, reports ANI.
2.40 pm: The discussion on the crisis in Tamil Nadu was disallowed in the Rajya Sabha. As CPI’s D Raja raised it, he was cut short by deputy chairman PJ Kurien who said: “All Tamilians are capable of taking a decision on it. We have full faith in them.”
2:35pm: An IANS report says that governor Rao has not finalised plans to go to Chennai. Rao, the Maharashtra governor who has additional charge of Tamil Nadu, would be busy with official commitments till late Wednesday evening and there is no word when he is likely to proceed to Chennai, sources told IANS.
2:30pm: Seeking Tamil Nadu governor Vidyasagar Rao’s intervention, DMK leader Kanimozhi said that it was very shocking that Paneerselvam has to say that he was forced to resign. She also dismissed allegations that the DMK was involved, saying they don’t get involved in the “inner politics of any other party.”
Read | TN turmoil deepens, O Panneerselvam orders Jayalalithaa death probe, Sasikala puts up show of strength
1:25am: We will not bow down to anyone who acts, speaks against what (Amma) Jayalalithaa said, says Sasikala.
“Panneerselvam conspiring against party; he is doing theatrics,” AIADMK general secretary says, adding that she did not take the chief ministerial position after Jayalalithaa’s death because she was “very sad”, quotes ANI.
Sasikala hits back at Panneerselvam, saying that it is her responsibility as the general secretary to put an end to his wrongdoings. “We will defeat anyone who tries to defeat the ideals of the party.”
Referring to opposition party DMK, Sasikala further says the caretaker CM colluded with the party that Amma fought against.
1:20pm: AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala addresses party MLAs. Around 100-130 lawmakers are present.
12:50pm: “I’ve full majority in the state assembly, all AIADMK MLAs stand with me,” Panneerselvam tells ANI. “To be a CM is a huge task but at each and every step, humiliation was carried out by the insiders who were close to me. I’ll continue to discharge my duties in accordance with the wishes of people of Tamil Nadu,” he says.
12:40pm: “No force can break the unity of AIADMK,” tweets the party’s official handle, quoting Sasikala.
12:20pm: Meanwhile, there are no developments on the Election Commission front on the turmoil in the state. A complaint was sent to AIADMK on February 2 but no date was set for submission of a response, EC sources told HT.
12:15pm: AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala begins addressing party MLAs at the Royapettah headquarters. Around 100-130 MLAs present.
11:40am: DMK’s Stalin responds to Sasikala’s allegation that he had a role to play in sowing dissent within the party. “Sasikala saying OPS smiled at me is shameful given the laughable turn of events happening within the AIADMK.” He said he also used to exchange pleasantries with former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
Read | Clear divide in AIADMK, majority does not support O Panneerselvam: DMK
Stalin also asked Sasikala to respond to Panneerselvam’s allegations rather than point fingers at his party. “DMK is not responsible for the political bickerings and internal squabbles of AIADMK. Don’t point fingers at DMK, if you can’t respond to Panneeselvam’s charges,” he said.
11:30am: Sasikala arrives at AIADMK headquarters for the MLA meet in Chennai.
11:11am: Pandian alleges that one of the doctors treating Jayalalithaa gave her the “wrong type of medication.”
“If they go run and hide I will let them be. They must not interfere with OPS or the MLAs. Otherwise I will file an FIR,” says Pandian. He swears his allegiance to Panneerselvam saying, “I have to protect OPS. I will do anything for him. I told him on December 5 I will always support him.”
Read | Jayalalithaa may have been murdered, says AIADMK leader Pandian
11:08am: “Sasikala remains interim general secretary of AIADMK,” says Panneerselvam.
Senior AIADMK leader OP Pandian is also with him. He says: “She (Sasikala) only cares about money, money, money. She wants to grab power to get money.”
11:05am: Panneerselvam promises to meet people in every part of the state. I will prove my majority and lead the people,” says Panneerselvam.
11:01am: “I will give Deepa (Jayalalithaa’s niece) the respect she deserves. I will ask Deepa to join me. I have always respected Amma’s brother’s children.”
He dismisses allegations that he’s backed by BJP: “It is a lie.”
Read | O Panneerselvam vs VK Sasikala: 10 things we know now about the late-night drama
11:00am: “The council can only appoint a temporary general secretary. Elections must be held as per party rules”: Panneerselvam.
10:55am: “Doubts about Amma’s health still prevail. A probe commission will be set up under a retired HC judge” says Panneerselvam. He also says that he will meet the state governor Vidyasagar Rao as soon as he arrives in Chennai. (Initial reports had said that it would be held under a retired SC judge).
10:53am: “Health queries regarding Amma raised in recent past. It’s the duty of the state government to enquire. Recommended an enquiry commission,” says Panneerselvam.
10:51am: “Amma remained CM for nearly 16 years, I happened to become CM twice, all this was the wish of Amma. Always followed Amma’s path,” Panneerselvam says.
10:47am: “There has been no instance where I have betrayed the party, while remaining in power or opposition. If party cadres ask me to withdraw my resignation, I will do that,” says Panneerselvam.
10:45am: O Panneerselvam to address reporters at his residence shortly.
Read | Video rental shop owner to CM: Sasikala evokes awe, fear among old neighbours
10:45am: Chinamma will be Tamil Nadu chief minister undoubtedly, all AIADMK MLAs are behind her: AIADMK MP, Navaneethakrishnan tells ANI.
10:30am: AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan reaches O Panneerselvam’s residence in Chennai. “My conscience as Amma loyalist made me join Panneerselvam,” says Maitreyan.
10:15am: More police personnel deployed around Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Chennai’s Marina Beach.
10:10am: BJP MP Subramanian Swamy weighs in, says Sasikala should be sworn-in as chief minister, if delayed “it’ll be violence against Constitution” and the President will need to intervene.
9:50am: Ahead of AIADMK MLAs meet at the party headquarters, Sasikala meets leaders including M Thambidurai at Poes Garden, reports ANI
9:40am: Panneerselvam spoke to reporters on Wednesday morning. “I don’t understand Sasikala’s rush to become the chief minister, does she not understand the situation in Tamil Nadu,” he said. He also refuted allegations that the BJP was behind his decision to revolt, saying, “My actions are my personal decisions.”
Read | What makes Sasikala so powerful and indispensable for the AIADMK
9:10am: “How can DMK be behind this,” asks TKS Elangovan, responding to Sasikala’s allegation. “How can they blame us for their infighting? How can we support O Panneerselvam when he’s the Opposition?We’re a major party and we want to come back to power and expose AIADMK’s wrongdoings.”
9:00am: “There is a force behind everything that is happening,” says Panneerselvam.
8:55am: On Sheela Balakrishnan’s resignation as the government adviser, Panneerselvam says, “Can’t say much about her resignation.She was already given an extension.”
8:45am: I had visited the hospital daily to enquire about Jayalalithaa’s health condition, but couldn’t meet her even once, ANI quotes Panneerselvam.
8:30am: Heavy police presence outside Sasikala’s residence at Poes garden and outside AIADMK headquarters in Chennai:
Developments on Tuesday night:
10:15pm: Panneerselvam begins addressing media at Marina beach:
- I don’t want to be a troublemaker. (But) I was forced to step down at the MLA meeting
- Amma’s spirit told me that I should come out and tell these truths to the people
- If the people want, if the electorate want, I will be there for them
- Even if I have to fight alone to uphold Amma’s good work I will
- When Amma was in Apollo, her condition deteriorated and I was asked to head the govt
- Senior leaders in the AIADMK agreed that Sasikala should be made the general secretary
- They sat me down and said we should make Sasikala the CM soon
- Many AIADMK leaders were giving interviews that Sasikala should be CM. I felt humiliated
- I was not allowed to come to this memorial on Saturday (the day before he resigned as chief minister)
- I have been told to be patient. I have always been patient. If they insulted me as an individual I would have said nothing
- I do not mind comments about me, but the name of the party AIADMK should not be spoilt
- It’s who the people want who should be CM. That is what is good for the state. Whether that’s me or anyone else
- For the future of Tamil Nadu, the CM should be someone who has the support of the people
- If the people, cadre, legislators want, I will withdraw my resignation
- I worked tirelessly during Cyclone Vardah to keep Amma’s name high. That irritated them (other AIADMK leaders)
- Several days after I accepted CM post, the Health Minister told be Dhivaharan was angry with me
Read | What makes Sasikala so powerful and indispensable for the AIADMK
Panneerselvam’s move comes amid uncertainty over the swearing in of party general secretary VK Sasikala as chief minister. It also comes on a day that allegations have grown over the circumstance around Jayalalithaa’s death.
11pm: Following Panneerselvam’s accusations, party general secretary Sasikala called for an emergency meeting of cabinet ministers at Poes Garden, the official residence where Jayalalithaa used to live.
AIADMK spokesperson Apsara Reddy rubbished Panneerselvam’s claims, saying he lacked support from fellow party leaders.
“He does not have any MLAs with him and a disgruntled man like him can go. The AIADMK is not poorer by his loss,” Reddy said, adding the party supported Sasikala.
11:30pm: The DMK, the main opposition party, responded to the developments with working president MK Stalin demanding action against those who threatened and pressurised Panneerselvam to resign.
“Today there is no government in Tamil Nadu... (the governor) should call for Assembly immediately and should ask to prove the majority,” Stalin said.
The governor should do what is constitutionally right, Stalin further said, adding Panneerselvam should take steps to form the government.
12:39am: Sasikala removes Panneerselvam from the post of AIADMK treasurer
1:15am: “I did not force O Pannerselvam for anything, what he is saying is not correct,” Sasikala tells supporters outside Poes garden. Says DMK is behind Panneerselvam’s accusations. DMK’s Stalin and Panneerselvam are known to be on cordial terms
1: 45am: “I have carried forward the post of treasurer which was entrusted upon me by Amma and I think no one can take it away from me,” says Pannerselvam in response to being sacked as treasurer
2:15am: VK Sasikala addresses supporters outside Poes Gardens. “I am a staunch follower of AIADMK and will remain so. Wait and see what will happen tomorrow.”