In growing support for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, five more AIADMK MPs today joined his camp, taking the number of Parliamentarians in his favour to ten.
Four Lok Sabha MPs — Jaisingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin), Senguttuvan (Vellore), R P Marutharaja (Perambalur) and S Rajendran (Villupuram) met Panneerselvam at his Greenways residence and extended support to him this morning.
Rajya Sabha MP R Lakshmanan also switched over to Panneerselvam camp, giving a morale boost to the Chief Minister who has raised a banner of revolt against AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala. AIADMK has 37 Lok Sabha MPs and 13 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Meanwhile, in a related development Sasikala “relieved” Lakshmanan from the post of district secretary Villupuram (North) and replaced him with Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam. Following Panneerselvam’s rebellion, AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan was the first Parliamentarian to extend support to him.
Sasikala, also known as Chinamma, lashed out at the Panneerselvam camp, saying the same group which went against Jayalalithaa is now attacking her.
In her address to the legislators — her party says there are 127 of them — she underscored that she has faith in the Constitution and they will win. Pointing to the difficulties she is labouring under, Ms Sasikala said, “It is very difficult for a woman to be in politics. I have seen it during Jayalalithaa’s time also”.
The same group which was against Jayalalithaa’s time is now attacking her, Ms Sasikala said. “The treason was shattered by Puratchi Thlaivi Amma to make AIADMK the most powerful party,” the official twitter handle of the party quoted her as saying. The path they crossed had been full of “hurdles and betrayals”, she had added.
“Tiding rough sea has taken AIADMK to pinnacle of success. The same group which went against Amma is now attacking us. I am not scared of such threats,” tweeted Sasikala. She also denied writing any apology letter to Jayalalithaa after being expelled from the party in 2011. Pannerselvam has made public a letter, claiming it to be an apology letter by Sasaikala in which she has maintained that she was never interested in politics or becoming a minister.
“A letter has been circulated as if I have written it. It shows there are people who cannot tolerate a lady getting into politics. The letter which claims to have been written by me is false. Things which are happening now are not new to us. There were attempts in past also to divide the party,” tweeted Sasikala adding that AIADMK government will contiunue in Tamil Nadu.
Sasikala rubbishes rumours that she had written a letter to the governor threatening about committing suicide.