Panneer slams Sasikala; hints at memorial at Jaya's residence

Chennai
9 Feb 2017

Sharpening his attack on AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today alleged it was she who had "betrayed" late Jayalalithaa and said Amma's Poes Garden residence where she now stays, should be declared a memorial. By accommodating persons who were expelled in 2011 by Jayalalithaa at the 'Veda Nilayam' Poes Garden residence, Sasikala had "betrayed" Amma, he said, hitting out at her for calling him a "betrayer." He said Jayalalithaa's residence where Sasikala continues to stay should be declared a memorial. Her personal articles should be protected, Panneerselvam said. "This is the first step of the struggle to declare it a memorial," he said. Addressing his supporters while welcoming AIADMK presidium chairman E Madusudanan, who is against Sasikala's elevation as Chief Minister, Panneerselvam claimed she had given a "false declaration that she had not even thought of betraying Amma," in an apology letter she had purportedly written to Jayalalithaa while being readmitted to the party after being expelled. "Sasikala is saying that I have betrayed. Who has betrayed? Her letter to Amma in 2012 will say who has betrayed (Amma and the party)," he said. Reading out the letter in front of his supporters, he claimed Sasikala had herself acknowledged that "what her relatives and friends had done was unpardonable" and a "blatant betrayal", and went on to ask if by accommodating them in the late CM's house she had not "committed betrayal". "People will teach a lesson to Sasikala," he said. Panneerselvam claimed that Sasikala had then said she did not want to involve herself in public life, nor was she interested in power or positions. However, now she was "enacting drama and trying to usurp power," he alleged. "I agreed to become Chief Minister after Amma's passing away considering party interests," he said. Noting that circumstances began to change two days after he took over as Chief Minister, Panneerselvam said when he was told that "Sasikala should become general secretary, I asked why this sudden change?" "I was told that she will be in a position to steer the party in a united manner and I too believed it." However, after assuming charge as party chief, "with the idea of betraying the party, she also wanted to usurp the post of Chief Minsiter." To enact the "treacherous drama," and "usurp power", Sasikala made Ministers in his Cabinet to speak against him and voice support for her elevation as the Chief Minister. He alleged that in doing so, Sasikala had "belittled" the office of Chief Minister. Meanwhile, caretaker chief minister Panneerselvam today held a brief meeting with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao amid the political uncertainty in the state and said that "good things will happen" but did not elaborate. "We had a detailed discussion with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao about all that is happening in Tamil Nadu... For sure, good thing will happen, dharma will win," he told reporters at his residence on returning from the Raj Bhavan. The meeting came two days after Panneerselvam revolted against AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala, claiming that he was forced to resign from the Chief Minister's post. Accepting Panneerselvam's resignation, the Governor had on February 6 asked him to continue till alternative arrangements were made. After his revolt, Panneerselvam has maintained he was willing to reconsider his resignation if the people desired. However, Rao's absence for the next two days from the state raised eyebrows with Sasikala's supporters demanding that she should have been invited to form the next government. Rao, holding charge of Tamil Nadu in addition to Maharashtra, arrived here from Mumbai late this afternoon and gave appointments to Pannerselvam and Sasikala, who is slated to meet him around 7.30 PM. Panneerselvam said he called on Rao along with senior leaders of his camp including, AIADMK Presidium Chairman E Madusudanan. He said they have the "blessings" of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. He quoted a popular Tamil verse of nationalist poet Subramanya Bharathi, the import of which is "though dharma could be eclipsed by intrigue, it will be dharma which will triumph ultimately". He, however, did not take any questions and merely gestured with folded hands when asked about his discussions with the Governor. Panneerselvam, who has repeatedly asserted that he will be able to prove his strength on the floor of the House, has not yet disclosed the number of MLAs supporting him. Meanwhile, caretaker chief minister Panneerselvam today held a brief meeting with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao amid the political uncertainty in the state and said that "good things will happen" but did not elaborate. "We had a detailed discussion with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao about all that is happening in Tamil Nadu... For sure, good thing will happen, dharma will win," he told reporters at his residence on returning from the Raj Bhavan. The meeting came two days after Panneerselvam revolted against AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala, claiming that he was forced to resign from the Chief Minister's post. Accepting Panneerselvam's resignation, the Governor had on February 6 asked him to continue till alternative arrangements were made. After his revolt, Panneerselvam has maintained he was willing to reconsider his resignation if the people desired. However, Rao's absence for the next two days from the state raised eyebrows with Sasikala's supporters demanding that she should have been invited to form the next government. Rao, holding charge of Tamil Nadu in addition to Maharashtra, arrived here from Mumbai late this afternoon and gave appointments to Pannerselvam and Sasikala, who is slated to meet him around 7.30 PM. Panneerselvam said he called on Rao along with senior leaders of his camp including, AIADMK Presidium Chairman E Madusudanan. He said they have the "blessings" of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. He quoted a popular Tamil verse of nationalist poet Subramanya Bharathi, the import of which is "though dharma could be eclipsed by intrigue, it will be dharma which will triumph ultimately". He, however, did not take any questions and merely gestured with folded hands when asked about his discussions with the Governor. Panneerselvam, who has repeatedly asserted that he will be able to prove his strength on the floor of the House, has not yet disclosed the number of MLAs supporting him.