In a surprising development, O Panneerselvam, who resigned as Tamil Nadu chief minister on Sunday, alleged on Tuesday that certain members of the ruling AIADMK party forced him to resign and support Sasikala as the chief minister.
Claiming that he wished to “clear his conscience”, Panneerselvam said he wanted to reveal some truths to “save the AIADMK party and Tamil Nadu”.
In a rather dramatic turn of events, Panneerselvam made a surpise visit to the memorial of J Jayalalithaa on Marina beach in Chennai, and sat in apparent meditation at the grave of his political guru. About half an hour later, he addressed the media gathered, saying Amma’s spirit had told him to clear the air.
Jayalalithaa was called Amma by her supporters and loyalists.
“Amma twice appointed me, the people would accept me said AIADMK leaders,” he said, saying he took up the post while she was hospitalised after much persuasion.
“When Amma was in the hospital and her health was poor, I was told we have the responsibility to save the party and government. She said we have to safeguard the party chief and CM’s post.”
More updates from Panneerselvam’s address:
– 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
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.