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O Panneerselvam vs VK Sasikala: 10 things we know now about the late-night drama

AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala sacked O Panneerselvam from the party post of treasurer on Wednesday night after he raised a banner of revolt against her.

The decision to remove Panneerselvam came after an emergency meeting Sasikala chaired at her Poes Garden residence, in which some sitting ministers and a section of senior functionaries participated.

The meeting came after former Speaker of the Tamil Nadu assembly PH Pandian revolted against Sasikala and Panneerselvam meditated at Jayalalithaa’s memorial and said he was forced to resign.

Here are 10 developments on the issue:

1) Veteran AIADMK leader PH Pandian raised suspicion over J Jayalalithaa’s death, alleging there was a quarrel at her Poes Garden home during which she was “pushed down”. At a press conference, the former assembly Speaker also strongly opposed the elevation of party chief V K Sasikala, saying she “does not deserve to be either the party supremo or the chief minister”.

2) The AIADMK hit back, dubbing Padian as a “betrayer” and said it was the constitutional obligation of the governor to swear in Sasikala as the chief minister and there is no ground for stopping it. “General Secretary in-charge can be appointed,” senior AIADMK leader Panruti Ramachandran asserted, saying that Sasikala’s elevation was in compliance with party rules and that it was valid.

3) DMK working president MK Stalin said the people of Tamil Nadu have not accepted the prospect of her becoming the chief minister and urged governor Vidyasagar Rao to take a “good decision” on her elevation.

“Not only the ruling party cadres, but all the people in Tamil Nadu have not accepted AIADMK supremo Sasikala trying to become chief minister,” he said.

4) Around 9pm, Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam sat in meditation alone at the burial site of late Jayalalithaa at the Marina beach for about 40 mins, two days after he tendered his resignation.

5) Panneerselvam revolted later, saying he was “forced to resign as chief minister on Sunday.” When asked if he would withdraw his resignation, Panneerselvam said: “Yes, if people of the state, and party cadres desire so, I will do it.”

6) He addresses reporters saying: “Amma’s spirit” had told him to clear the air. He also said, “Jayalalithaa told me to take over as Chief Minister when Jayalalithaa told me to take over as chief minister when she was in hospital.”

7) Later at night, immediately after breaking ranks with Sasikala, Pannerselvam went into a huddle with his supporters. Sasikala also held a brainstorming session with party leaders. DMK working president MK Stalin, too, held a meeting of top party leaders.

8) After the meeting came an announcement that Sasikala had sacked Panneerselvam from the post of AIADMK treasurer. She replaced Panneerselvam with Dindigul C Srinivasan, who is also the forest minister and is seen as the No. 2 in the hierarchy in the council of ministers.

9) Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai later dismissed the claims of Panneerselvam, said the AIADMK stood united.

10) At an impromptu press meet in front of her residence at around 1.15 am, Sasikala alleged that the DMK was behind Panneerselvam’s revolt against her and said he would also be removed from the AIADMK’s primary membership. She said all the party MLAs were with her and that there was “no problem” in her becoming the Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Source: HindustanTimes