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I was forced to submit my resignation: Panneerselvam

R Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on February 07, 2017

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam sits in meditation at Jayalalithaa memorial before he meets mediapersons on Tuesday. - Photo: G Sribharath

Openly comes out against VK Sasikala

“I was forced to submit my resignation,” told the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, clarifying on the developments in the ruling AIADMK party over the last two days.

Openly coming out against VK Sasikala, the general secretary of the AIADMK who was elected last Sunday as the Leader of the Legislature Party following which he had stepped down, he said “as far as I am concerned only a person who has the backing of the crores of party supporters and the people of Tamil Nadu can be the general secretary of AIADMK,” he said.

“This is important for the people of State and Tamil Nadu’s well being. The general secretary can be OPS or anybody, but the person has to lead the party with discipline and nurture the party with the goodwill it had earned under Amma (Late Jayalalithaa, the former chief minister and AIADMK general secretary). I will stay true to this and fight alone if needed,” he said.

The meeting of the legislators on Sunday had happened without his knowledge when he had been busy overseeing damage control work following the oil spill at Ennore to the North of Chennai. Subsequently, he was `pressured’ to resign, he said in the surprise press meet at the memorial to Jayalalithaa where he meditated for over 40 minutes before talking to media persons.

“I needed to clear my conscience and open up to the people to let them know what had happened,” he said before hitting out at Sasikala.

He had been continuously humiliated while in office with his own cabinet members openly asking for Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister. He had come to the burial place of the former leader to clear his thoughts. “I will take back my resignation if the people wish it,” he said.

Following the death of Jayalalithaa last December 5, Panneerselvam was sworn in as chief minister the same night. At that time there was widespread speculation that Sasikala, a close confidante of Jayalalithaa for over three decades would step in as general secretary of the AIADMK and possibly the chief minister.

On December 29, the party’s general council unanimously elected Sasikala as the general secretary. On January 5, the AIADMK legislators elected Sasikala as the Leader of the Legislator Party paving the way for her to step in as chief minister.

Panneerselvam submitted his resignation. And it was expected that Sasikala’s swearing-in ceremony would be held soon. But the suspense continues with clearance from the office of the Governor Vidyasagar Rao awaited.

There has been a ground swell of protest within the party over Sasikala taking centre stage. She was perceived as a behind the scenes, power centre, known only for her close association with Jayalalithaa, and did not have the grass roots support of the party.

It was rare sight today at the memorial on the beach with AIADMK supporters screaming praise for Panneerselvam, OPS, as he is popularly known. “Long live OPS, we are with you,” people screamed.

Hundreds of people gathered at about 10.00 pm when word spread about Panneerselvam at the memorial. The normally low profile, reticient, Panneerselvam coming out openly was a climax to the swelling opposition to Sasikala within the party.

Published on February 07, 2017
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