India: Sasikala sacks Panneerselvam's aide Ramachandran for anti-party activities
The AIADMK split after Panneerselvam -- who was appointed chief minister after Jayalalithaa's death -- alleged that he was forced to step down by Sasikala. Photograph: (Twitter)
Faced with a revolt from O Panneerselvam, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala today sacked Panneerselvam's aide, G Ramachandran for anti-party activities.
Earlier, talking about Panneerselvam's "revolt" against her, the AIADMK general secretary said the "betrayal" will never win in the AIADMK and blamed arch rival DMK for trying to destabilise her from the party.
Sasikala hit out against former chief minister Panneerselvam, insisting that she had noticed "Panneerselvam joining hands with DMK following their conversation in the Assembly," and added that she felt duty bound to prevent the next course of action from happening, referring to a "revolt".
Media reports said Sasikala is set to fly to Delhi tonight to display her political strength by parading AIADMK MLAs before President Pranab Mukherjee.
In a dramatic turn of events early Wednesday, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had removed Tamil Nadu's interim chief minister Panneerselvam as the party's treasurer after he revolted against Sasikala and said that he was forced to resign as chief minister of the south Indian state.
Addressing the media outside his residence in Chennai, he said that he will prove his strength in the Assembly and also pledged to meet the people of Tamil Nadu in each and every city to prove his point.
I will accept Deepa's (J Jayalalithaa's niece) support, if offered: #OPanneerselvam— ANI (@ANI_news) February 8, 2017
Panneerselvam has now been replaced by Dindigul Sreenivasan.
Panneerselvam, during a surprise visit at the burial site of the former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, had claimed that the state's revenue minister, RB Udhayakumar, had told him that Sasikala should take over as chief minister, ANI reported.
At a meeting at Sasikala's place senior party leaders were present&question of her being CM came.I asked how far was this justified: TN CM— ANI (@ANI_news) February 7, 2017
Late Tuesday night, Panneerselvam made a surprise visit to Jayalalithaa's burial site at Marina beach. According to media reports, he reached the site at around 9 pm.
He then sat in meditation for the next 40 minutes. About half an hour later, he addressed the media gathered there, saying Amma's spirit had told him to clear the air, according to ANI.
Panneerselvam said, "There are some truths that I want to tell to my party cadre and to the people of this country. I have performed my duty without any shortcomings and carried forward path shown by Amma. When she (Jayalalithaa) was in the hospital, she asked me to take over as Chief Minister. I was told that I have to save the party and the state. I was given the post but was then insulted continuously,"
I was given the CM post but insulted continuously: TN CM O.Panneerselvam— ANI (@ANI_news) February 7, 2017
"The question of Sasikala becoming Chief Minister came up during a meeting at her place. At the time I asked how this was even justified. However, the party leaders said I have to take an initiative towards making her the Chief Minister, and that's how I was forced to tender resignation," he added.
Soon after Panneerselvam was removed from the post of AIADMK treasurer, Sasikala alleged that the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was behind his revolt against her and also asserted that all the party MLAs were with her.
"All the MLAs are there like a single family, so there is no problem," she told reporters at a crowded press meet.
Asked if Panneerselvam would also be removed from AIADMK's primary membership, she asserted, "for sure, we will do it".
However, DMK Organisation Secretary TKS Elangovan said they were not behind Panneerselvam's revolt.
Panneerselvam too rubbished her claims that DMK was behind his moves. He said, "Only humans can laugh and smiling at people cannot be a crime."
He also added that nobody had the right to remove him from the post of treasurer. "No one has the right to remove me from the post of treasurer which was given to me by Amma 10 years ago."
Panneerselvam has also alleged that during Jayalalithaa's final days, he couldn't meet her even once.
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram told ANI that after Jayalalithaa's death, the Assembly should have been dissolved.
Mandate was fr Jayalalithaa,as she passed away right thng for AIADMK should've been to dissolve assembly fr elections-Karti Chidambaram,Cong pic.twitter.com/w4WL2YZQBD— ANI (@ANI_news) February 7, 2017
Assembly must be dissolved n elections must be called for immediately. https://t.co/fzNQ6hog9r— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) February 8, 2017
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy told ANI that Sasikala's swearing-in should not be delayed.
(WION with inputs from agencies)