Medium Sends Mes­sage Of Re­bel­lion To Sasikala

Af­ter med­i­ta­tion & ‘con­ver­sa­tion with Jay­alalithaa’s soul’, OPS rebels, says he was forced to re­sign

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Our Po­lit­i­cal Bureau

New Delhi/Chen­nai: Pol­i­tics made way for para­nor­mal in Chen­nai late on Tues­day night. Or so it seemed when three-time stand-in chief min­is­ter O Pan­neer­sel­vam claimed at a late night news con­fer­ence that Jay­alalithaa’s ‘soul had asked him to speak the truth’. And the truth was that he was forced to step down as CM and he did it to pre­vent a split in the AIADMK. Pannneer­sel­vam, who ar­rived at the Jay­alalithaa me­mo­rial on Ma­rina beach late on Tues­day night to med­i­tate in full me­dia glare, told in his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance af­ter Sun­day’s res­ig­na­tion that he was ready to with­draw his res­ig­na­tion if that is what the peo­ple of Tamil Nadu and the AIADMK cadre wanted.

The fast pace de­vel­op­ments over the week­end that gave the im­pres­sion that Sasikala was set to smoothly take over as the CM was be­lied fol­low­ing OPS’ claim.

The dice seemed to be loaded against Sasikala as her as­sump­tion of power has also been chal­lenged in the Supreme Court. The PIL could come up for hear­ing on Wed­nes­day af­ter it is ‘cured’ of its de­fects. The Supreme Court is also ex­pected to de­liver its ver­dict in the dis­pro­por­tion­ate as­sets case against Sasikala and oth­ers next week. An un­favourable ver­dict could mean the end of Sasikala’s bid to as­sume the office of CM at least as of now. How­ever, how many MLAs ac­tu­ally sup­port her and if Pan­neer­sel­vam has the back­ing of a sec­tion of the party is not known at this stage. OPS’ re­marks has put a ques­tion mark on the unan­i­mous elec­tion of Sasikala, in­di­cat­ing that the party which has seen mul­ti­ple splits af­ter the death of founder MGR may be headed for an­other one, even as its gen­eral sec­re­tary VK Sasikala was wait­ing for an in­vi­ta­tion from gover­nor C Vidyasagar Rao to take over as chief min­is­ter of Tamil Nadu. The drama that cli­maxed with Pan­neer­sel­vam’s news con­fer­ence be­gan when Jay­alalithaa’s niece Dee- pa Jayaku­mar dis­ap­proved of Sasikala’s takeover as the CM and vet­eran ADMK leader PH Pan­dian al­leged that Jay­alalithaa “col­lapsed” af­ter she was pushed dur­ing a fight at her res­i­dence in Septem­ber, trig­ger­ing her bout of ill­ness that led to her death. Adding to the sus­pense, Maharashtra gover­nor C Vidyasagar Rao, who holds ad­di­tional charge of the state, was yet to ar­rive in Chen­nai, two days af­ter Sasikala staked claim to be­come the CM.

On its part, the AIADMK said that it was the con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion of the gover­nor to swear in Sasikala as CM even as it rub­bished Pan­dian’s al­le­ga­tions. The AIADMK fielded Pan­ruti Ra­machan­dran and KA Sen­got­taiyan who at a news con­fer­ence re­jected Pan­dian's al­le­ga­tions and dubbed him a “be­trayer” caus­ing “con­fu­sion.” Ra­machan­dran added “gen­eral sec­re­tary in-charge can be ap­pointed,” and that Sasikala's el­e­va­tion was in com­pli­ance with party rules and that it was valid.

“The con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion of the gover­nor is to swear in Sasikala. There is no ground for stop­ping it. No­body can stop it,” Ra­machan­dran, who was a min­is­ter in the first MGR cabi­net, said. On a PIL op­pos­ing swear­ing in of Sasikala as chief min­is­ter, he said the court can dis­miss the pe­ti­tion, say­ing it can­not in­ter­fere in the gover­nor's duty.

Pan­dian claimed that Sasikala's el­e­va­tion was against party norms, say­ing she did not have the lo­cus standi to ei­ther be the party chief or chief min­is­ter. “Sasikala does not de­serve to be ei­ther the party supremo or the chief min­is­ter,” Pan­dian told re­porters, two days af­ter Sasikala was elected AIADMK leg­is­la­ture party leader.


Pan­dian claimed that within 20 days af­ter the demise of Jay­alalithaa, party lead­ers were “made to say” that they wanted Sasikala to be the party chief and added that it was against party rules. “Only cadres can elect the gen­eral sec­re­tary,” he said. “Vi­o­lat­ing party by­laws, one can­not be­come gen­eral sec­re­tary. If it was done, it is not sus­tain­able.”

Elab­o­rat­ing on his al­le­ga­tion, Pan­dian said: “On the night of Septem­ber 22, there was a war of words be­tween the peo­ple of the house. It was about some hap­pen­ing with the other side's fam­ily (Sasikala's fam­ily) and Jay­alalithaa and she was pushed down. She fell down and she be­came un­con­scious.” Ra­machan­dran coun­tered this by ask­ing, “what is the proof ? Did he show any proof ?” He said only doc­tors were com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties to speak on such is­sues, adding, “they did not say any­thing like that (in­di­cat­ing sus­pi­cious death).”

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