Power struggle in Tamil Nadu, India: AIADMK CM Panneerselvam, rival Sasikala fight to control Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK!

Power struggle in Tamil Nadu, India: AIADMK CM Panneerselvam, rival Sasikala fight to control Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK!

–Dr. Abdul Ruff

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AIADMK crisis is gaining importance in India as Tamil Nadu is being deprived of governance for months while intense power struggle is rocking the ruling AIADMK and Panneerselvam government.

 

With Jayalalithaa no more to control Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, the AIADMK, and government and her friend Sasikala  trying to assert herself by putting herself into Jayalalithaa’s shoes to control the party and government, Tamil the AIADMK, now under General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, is locked in a bitter all-out war within with the acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam vowing to stay put in office while Sasikala, feeling suffocated  that he  put  a spanner  to her rising  prowess, has called him a “traitor” and accused him of trying to split the party with the DMK’s backing. Panneerselvam has in an interview to Thanthi TV made it clear that he tolerated Sasikala and team seeking to control the party and co government could not object to Sasikala’s aggressive moves for power because he did not want to be cause of split in the party.

Sasikala convened a meeting on February 08 with MLAs where she got their support for her agenda and also took away their mobiles so that they don’t talk to others. Later she has taken all MLAs to n undefined destination and put them in five star hotels – near tourist destination Mahabalipuram. Her supporters defend the Sasikala action as being tactical move

Clearly Sasikala, going by an elaborate planning has managed majority support but if she loses some 10 MLAs, she would majority in the assembly. Aleady 6 MLAs have expressed support for CM Panneerselvam. Thus both Sasikala and OPS camps claim majority support among the AIADMK’s 134 MLAs in Tamil Nadu. In the latest drama, nearly 130 of those legislators have been bussed to a hotel near the Chennai airport by Sasikala to make sure they don’t switch camps. It seems many MLAs are under duress under Sasikala.

Both camps claim majority support among the AIADMK’s 134 MLAs in Tamil Nadu. In the latest drama, nearly 130 of those legislators have been bussed to a hotel near the Chennai airport by Sasikala to make sure they don’t switch camps. The MLAs are expected in New Delhi tomorrow to meet President Pranab Mukherjee. AIADMK MPs have reached Delhi to meet the president and raise the issue in the parliament.

 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who is expected to play a key role in resolving the crisis or recommend President’s Rule in the state, is in Mumbai, triggering the Congress charge that the BJP is trying to fish in the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu. He is expected to be in Chennai on February 09 and might meet the MLAs.

 

TV channels in Tamil Nadu and Delhi keep debating the issue from various ankles.

 

Meanwhile, CM Panneerselvam has asked banks not to release any money to AIADMK without his permission as he remains the treasurer of AIADMK.

 

Panneerselvam  said Jayalalithaa asked him to the CM but Sasikala team is persecuting him. Sasikala camp is now publishing photographs of Jayalalithaa with Sasikala during their  hey days to show how close they are. Both fought an got separated for a couple of years and the illegal assets case proceedings brought them together once again.

 

With Jayalalithaa’s photo in his shirt pocket, a teary-eyed Panneerselvam was watched by a large number of his supporters and AIADMK activists. Before leaving the memorial, Panneerselvam also did a parikrama of Jayalalithaa’s memorial.

 

While Sasikala claimed that it was Panneerselvam who wanted her to become the party chief and the Chief Minister, he has not spoken on the subject publicly.

 

In another dramatic turn in Tamil Nadu’s politics, the incumbent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam tonight made an unscheduled visit at AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa’s memorial and sat there meditating for almost 40 minutes.

 

With Jayalalithaa’s photo in his shirt pocket, a teary-eyed Panneerselvam was watched by a large number of his supporters and AIADMK activists. Before leaving the memorial, Panneerselvam also did a parikrama of Jayalalithaa’s memorial.

 

Addressing the media after his meditation, Paneerselvam said, “Jayalalithaa’s soul called out to me, so i came here to search my conscious. Also, I want to tell some truth to the people of this country and party cadre.”

He said, “I have performed my duty without any shortcomings and carried forward path shown by Ammaa (Jaya) .

 

Sasikala’s team is pressurizing me.” “I am the conscience keeper of Amma. But I resolved to myself that I will continue to work in Amma’s name and that’s when Cyclone Vardah also happened. I worked not for myself but for amma’s spirit. I did everything possible to ensure Vardah wasn’t an issue and that irritated Sasikala.”

 

Panneerselvam said, “Minister Udhayakumar told me Sasikala must become chief minister. I asked if it was ok considering that the legislative party chose me. He said if you don’t agree, I will show you. Another minister came to me and assured me that Udhayakumar’s words were wrong, but he went and said the same thing in Madurai. MLA Sengottaiyan also said the same thing. Some legislators spoke to me and I told them that I’m sitting here as the chief minister then why are they humiliating me like this.” He said, “If people are with me I will take back my resignation.”

 

The AIADMK leader, who became the Chief Minister after Jayalalithaa died on December 5, quit on Sunday to make way for VK Sasikala to take charge of the government.

 

The AIADMK today said the Governor is constitutionally obligated to swear-in duly-elected person as Chief Minister and that it was not worried over the legal challenges against impending swearing-in of Sasikala to the top elected post. “It is a constitutional obligation on the part of a Governor to swear-in a duly-elected person as the Chief Minister,” AIADMK spokesperson Panruti S. Ramachandran said. Asked about the delay in the government formation, Ramachandran said the party is awaiting Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao’s return to Chennai.

 

Actor Kamal Hasan spoke about the anger of the people of Tamil Nadu, especially the sense of betrayal and how they must come to the streets if their politicians don’t get their act together. The actor said that O Panneerselvam is competent enough to lead Tamil Nadu and Sasikala, in a sense, should back off from confrontation. In his interview, Haasan agreed that Sasikala’s proximity to Jayalalithaa is no reason for her to become the chief minister and she should back off and let the people decide.

“Time of dice playing was done with in Mahabharat. We can’t be playing dice and hawking our family wives and lives, in favour of some numbers (Sasikala’s MLA support). We don’t trade. We are the people,” said Haasan.

On Sasikala imposing her will – “Even I cannot impose my will. I can speak what I think, but can’t impose. I may be proven wrong, but I must speak. Tamil Nadu has not had the best of service from politicians for more than 60 years. The first 10 years were glorious, but Congress..Kamraj-ji, Raja-ji. they all became complacent. Then came Dravidian parties. Those promises were also not kept,” said Haasan.

 

Jayalalithaa’s preference for Panneerselvam has upset most ministers in Jayalalithaa cabinet and they all waited for a chance to fix him.

 

It appears Sasikala and her allies were upset that Panneerselvam won the jallikattu fight with the central government while Sasikala had no role in it.

 

THE AIADMK CRISIS:

 

All of sudden Sasikala came to limelight as she moved swiftly to capture the party and government.

 

  1. Addressing AIADMK MLAs at the party headquarters, Sasikala accused Panneerselvam of committing an “evil act” by covertly aligning with the DMK to undermine the ruling party.
  2. “Nobody will believe that I forced him to resign as Chief Minister. Not the people, nor the (AIADMK) cadres,” she said.
  3. “This is a deceitful plan of the DMK,” she said, referring to DMK leader MK Stalin’s opposition to her attempts to become the Chief Minister.
  4. Refuting Sasikala’s allegation that it was aiding Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in his revolt against his party’s leadership, DMK said its support to him was issue-based.
  5. Day after Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala, the long-time confidante of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa accused the acting Chief Minister of “betrayal” after he refused to back her plans to head the government.
  6. On his part, Panneerselvam announced that a Supreme Court judge will head a Commission of Inquiry to probe the December 5 demise of Jayalalithaa. He said there were many questions over the death.
  7. Asked if he would stake claim to form the government as Chief Minister again, he told the media: “Wait and see.”
  8. Meanwhile, amid political uncertainty, Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who also holds charge for Tamil Nadu, continued to stay put in Mumbai with no indication of when he will travel to Chennai.
  9. The Congress has alleged the BJP is trying to fish in the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu “unconstitutionally” and instructing the Governor to not go to the state.
  10. Denying the allegation, the BJP said it had no role in the “internal matters” of the crisis-ridden AIADMK and asserted that Governor will take a decision soon to resolve the issue.

 

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Tamil Nadu politics: CM O Panneerselvam revolts against Sasikala, says he was forced to quit and Jayalalithaa wanted him to be CM!

Tamil Nadu politics:  CM O Panneerselvam revolts against Sasikala, says he was forced to quit and Jayalalithaa wanted him to be CM!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Sasikala’s swearing in has been postponed as Governor Rao has not come to Chennai to administer it to her. Meanwhile there are petitions in the Supreme Court pleasing to stop Sasikala’s swearing in, citing the pending Supreme Court judgment in her disproportionate assets.  Supreme Court has said the case judgment has been finalized and judgment would be delivered in a week.

Tamil Nadu CM OP Panneerselvam said on February 07 that he was forced by Sasikala to resign and  he led a sensational revolt, saying his conscience was pricked and Jaya’s spirit spoke to him. He was quoted saying by CNN-News 18: “Jayalalithaa’s spirit asked me to reveal some truth to the people of Tamil Nadu.” He also said that Jaya had asked him to pick someone that the people would accept. O Panneerselvam said that only a popular leader should become the CM virtually throwing the gauntlet against Sasikala.

After virtually staying in the background in the wake of the death of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam today came into the spotlight by first visiting Jaya’s mausoleum in an unscheduled visit, sat in silence for over 15 minutes and then approached the media and made some sensational revelations, the most important of which was that he would take back his resignation. Saying that during Jaya’s 75-day treatment, when her health deteriorated, he was told that her health was ‘very bad’ and that the ‘party, government and Tamil Nadu must be saved’. Panneerselvam said that ‘I told them that Jaya is still under treatment, what was the big hurry.’ However, he said that ‘I was told that emergency decision must be taken. I heeded that decision.’

Saying that the spirit of Jayalalithaa was guiding him to speak the truth, Panneerselvam said Uday Kumar wanted Sasikala as chief minister. He said that he approached Sasikala and asked her ‘how partyman can speak against the chief minister?’ Panneerselvam said he took decisions that he did to ensure the party was not split.

Amidst growing revolt against appointment of VK Sasikala Natarajan as the Chief Minister, incumbent chief minister O Panneerselvam has joined the revolt. After paying homage to Jayalalithaa at her memorial on Marina Beach where he meditated for 40 minutes, he said that he was forced to resign as CM to make way for Sasikala.

After the sudden demise of Jayalalithaa, O.P.S. has not spoken much as he visibly pained by his leader’s departure. He also said that when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised, she had asked him to take over the governance of Tamil Nadu.

Clad in a white shirt and dhoti, and sporting his trademark holy ash and kumkum, Pannir sat on the floor inside the burial site enclosure in a traditional meditating posture on Tuesday. Later while talking to reporters, he claimed that Jayalalithaa’s spirit spoke to him and asked him to reveal the truth to people.

Earlier in the day, senior AIADMK leader PH Pandian raised suspicion over Jayalalithaa’s death claiming that she was murdered. On the other hand, a PIL was filed in Supreme Court on Monday restraining the swearing-in of Sasikala which was earlier to be held on Tuesday. Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had also cancelled his trip to Chennai on Monday stating that he was waiting for Supreme Court to take a stand on the case.

Panneerselvam had on Sunday tendered his resignation from the post of Chief Minister citing ‘personal reasons’ and setting the stage for takeover of Sasikala, who was elected as Legislature Party leader earlier that day.

Panneerselvam to remain interim CM until governor examines legal implications regarding Sasikala’s appointment.

O Panneerselvam said:  – I have performed my duty without any shortcomings and carried forward path shown by Amma. – When she was in the hospital I asked her, she (Jayalalithaa) asked me to take over as CM. – When I was the CM, Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar, said Sasikala should take over as CM. – I was given the CM post but insulted continuously. – At a meeting at Sasikala’s place senior party leaders were present and question of her being CM was addressed. I asked how far this was justified. – Party leaders said I have to take initiative towards making Sasikala CM that’s how I was forced to tender resignation. – I am saying these facts in front of you to make things clear in public I will continue to struggle. – I will take back my resignation if party workers and people ask me to.

Pannerselvam has said he would withdraw his resignation from CM post.

Meanwhile, an emergency cabinet meeting has been called at Sasikala’s Poes garden residence. Panneerselvam has been removed from the post of treasurer of AIADMK by Sasikala as general secretary of the party and reports suggest eh may even be suspend from primary membership of the party so that AIADMK leaders do not switch their allegiance to him.  

It has also been reported that Governor Vidyasagar Rao who was to fly to Chennai tomorrow, has cancelled his visit.  Sasikala Natarajan will not be sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM on Wednesday.

TN opposition leader and DMK’s working President Stalin said there is mystery behind what is happening in AIADMK.  He said his suspicion about Pannerselvam being sidelined in the party has been proven today with his outburst.

One thing is clear. Many AIADMK leaders were not happy that Jayalalithaa chose OPS in preference to other 5 senior ministers in the cabinet to be in charge of the state as acting CM when the court had sent her to jail on disproportionate assets case in which Sasikala is also charge sheeted.

BJP leader S. Swamy said the president Pranab should step in to  clear the mess in the state while other BJP leaders and DMK suggest  majority of OPS should be tested on the floor of the House .