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AIADMK crisis: Two more senior leaders switch over to Panneerselvam's camp

AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala has sought an appointment with the state's governor today. Photograph: (AFP)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 11, 2017, 10.27 AM (IST)

The leadership crisis in the AIADMK took another turn with veteran AIADMK leader and party spokesperson C Ponnaiyan joining acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam's camp. Another leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Sathyabama also extended her support to Panneerselvam.

After meeting her party MLAs at the Golden Bay resort at Koovathur, Sasikala expressed happiness and said that the time lag that has been created appears to be intended to split the party, the AIADMK posted on its twitter handle. She also said that they have been patiently waiting till today, the party tweeted.

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Earlier, AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala reached the Golden Bay resort at Koovathur where she met party legislators who have been lodged there as she awaits an appointment with the Governor of Tamil Nadu.

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Sasikala had visited Jayalalithaa's memorial at Chennai's Marina beach, before heading out to the resort at Koovathur to meet party MLAs.

She has sought an appointment with the Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao. It is expected that she will parade all those party legislators who are backing her before the Governor in a bid to prove her majority. 

"I would like to seek an appointment with you by today along with all MLAs who extended their support to me regarding further course of action to form the government," the letter read.

"I believe your Excellency will act immediately to save the sovereignty of the Constitution, democracy and the interest of the state," the letter added.

The political tussle between the two factions led by caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala took a dramatic turn when the state education minister K Pandiarajan crossed over to the former's camp this morning.

"I have extended my support to the chief minister (OPS), our only aim is to keep party united," the minister said.

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Pandiarajan was one of the 10 ministers who had accompanied AIADMK general secretary Sasikala to meet the state's Governor where she presented her credentials to stake claim for the chief minister's position. 

Meanwhile, two MPs have extended support to Panneerselvam. Ashok Kumar from Krishnagiri and PR Sundaram from Namakkal have extended support to the caretaker chief minister, The Hindu reported.

The faction led by Panneerselvam was bolstered when Sasikala loyalist and the party's presidium chairman E Madusudanan wrote to the Election Commission of India asking it not to recognise VK Sasikala as the party general secretary. 

Sasikala, later, expelled him as the party presidium chairman.

"People do not like Sasikala," Madusudanan, who is considered the No. 2 in the AIADMK said.

"Only to seek pardon (for associating with Sasikala), I have come to the side of Panneerselvam," he added.

AIADMK legislator V Maithreyan hailed Panneerselvam as Jayalalithaa's successor and said what began as a "silent meditation" had now led to an uprising. 

On Wednesday, caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam met the governor and briefed him about the political developments in the state.

On Tuesday, in a dramatic turn of events, Panneerselvam, after visiting the Jayalalithaa memorial, announced that he was forced to resign as chief minister. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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