In a move that stunned his political opponents and caught journalists and everyone else by surprise, Tamil Nadu’s caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam lashed out at the Sasikala faction within AIADMK and effectively put a spanner in their attempt to make Sasikala the next Chief Minister.
After meditating for nearly 40 minutes at late Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach, he broke his silence before the media, saying his “good work” for the state had irritated Sasikala.
OPS claimed party leaders said he had to take initiative towards making Sasikala the Chief Minister and that's how he was forced to tender his resignation.
He added that someone who is chosen by the people should be the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
“I am willing to fight alone”, he said as a battle call.
Panneerselvam added that while he was busy cleaning up the heavy oil spill at Ennore port, it was decided behind his back that the transition would take place.
I was called, and asked to prepare for the fact that Chinamma was to become the next CM. I asked what the hurry and necessity was. I did not know that the MLAs meeting was called. And yet I was called and asked to take charge of the succession. I did not understand this. I argued for over two hours about this.
He said it was under these circumstances that he came out to Amma’s memorial and decided to “reveal all to the people of Tamil Nadu”.
'Amma's Atma Told Me to Speak the Truth'
He said he came out to Jayalalithaa’s memorial because her atma asked him to speak the truth.
I came here because Amma’s atma called me and urged me to tell the truth. I was told Madhusudan should become AIADMK General Secretary, I did not accept. The Health Minister said Chinamma should be made the General Secretary and all the leaders agreed to this.
He said he continued doing his work even as various challenges came his way – Cyclone Vardah, water scarcity and Jallikattu.
I continued to serve the public admirably. It was then that Cyclone Vardah hit. In just four days, after the storm, we were able to mitigate the damage, and earn the government a good name. I did this as my duty. This irritated Sasikala greatly.
Shortly after his announcement, an emergency meeting of senior AIADMK members was called at Sasikala’s residence at Poes Garden.
After the meeting ended Sasikala said that Panneerselvam was acting at someone else’s behest, hinting that AIADMK was behind his dramatic announcement. She also expelled him from the party in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
After the announcement of his expulsion from the AIADMK and all party posts, Panneerselvam yet again addressed the media and said:
I have carried forward the post of treasurer which was entrusted upon me by Amma and I think no one can take it away from me. DMK is not involved in any way. I don’t fear anybody. Wait and see what happens tomorrow.
Paneerselvam was seen as a ‘push-over’ by many following his repeated role as a caretaker Chief Minister when Jayalalithaa was under arrest and once again when she was hospitalised.
Paneerselvam’s move comes at a time when doubts have been raised on whether Sasikala could take over the mantle with the verdict of a disproportionate assets case looming over her head.
A last-minute delay by the Tamil Nadu governor who was due to swear-in Sasikala on Tuesday led to speculations that all was not well.
According to News18, Jaya TV did not show visuals of Panneerselvam at the memorial.
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