Chennai: O Panneerselvam, who recently resigned from his post as Tamil Nadu chief minister to make way for AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala to take over the reins, has broken his silence and declared that he will fight, even if alone, to ensure that his mentor J Jayalalithaa’s will is fulfilled in choosing a leader for the state, who would be the choice of the Tamil people.
Speaking at the Jayalalithaa memorial at the Marina beach, where he meditated for a few minutes before addressing the media, Panneerselvam said the spirit of the former minister had prodded him into revealing the truth — that he was forced to ask AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala to take over the chief minister’s post from him, after his own ministers openly rebelled against him by placing the demand out in public.
Panneerselvam said he spoke to Sasikala when his ministers raised this demand in public, and that she had assured him that they were chided about it and asked not to speak of the matter again. “But soon enough a legislature party meeting was called,” said Panneerselvam, “in which I was pressured further saying I should not let the party unity be affected and I should, therefore, do what’s in the party’s best interest.” He said he told the gathered MLAs that he wanted to spend some time at Jayalalithaa’s memorial and think over it before taking a decision, but they insisted that he make the decision then and there. He then acquiesced to their demands, he said, under pressure.
Stating that his conscience was not letting him keep mum anymore, Panneerselvam said he would fight, even if alone, to ensure that someone that had the support of the people — and not just the MLAs — would become the chief minister.
Social media has been buzzing with dissent about the decision to make Sasikala the next chief minister, ever since the party made the announcement. Sasikala was set to be sworn in today but there has been uncertainty over it as Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who is also in charge of Maharashtra, has not yet returned to Chennai following his trip outstation.
VK Sasikala has not yet made any statement regarding the future action. Meanwhile, AIADMK spokesperson Apsara Reddy lambasted the former chief minister O Panneerselvam, speaking to TV channels, saying what he was doing was not right as he did not have the backing of the MLAs and that it was party general secretary VK Sasikala that the legislature party had chosen for chief minister.