Sasikala said she and her supporters had so far been patiently waiting for a reply from the Governor. Photograph: (ANI)
The AIADMK general secretary said the delay in her swearing-in ceremony was an attempt to divide her party
Even as five legislators and party spokesperson crossed over to the camp of incumbent Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam, All India Anna Dravidi Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief Sasikala alleged the Governor was deliberately delaying declaring her as chief minister.
Political uncertainty has gripped the state following Panneerselvam's revolt against the AIADMK general secretary. Sasikala met Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on February 9, staking her claim to form the government in the state.
Sasikala said delaying tactics were an attempt to "create division in the party", adding that her supporters would launch a new kind of protest from Sunday.
"All party MLAs are fine and happy. We were waiting patiently till this moment for a reply from the Governor. Needed measures will be taken. From tomorrow onwards, we would begin a new kind of protest. Delaying tactics is an attempt to create divisions in the party," Sasikala told the press after meeting her MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly).
"We are being patient because of our belief in fairness and trust in democracy. But, we can be patient only to a limit. Beyond that, we will decide what to do," warned Sasikala, close aide of former chief minister Jayalalithaa.
Asked about the outcome of the meeting with the MLAs, currently lodged in a resort in capital Chennai, Sasikala said, "After meeting the party MLAs, I feel happy."
Asked if she would sought any legal remedies in the issue, she said, "Please wait and watch".
In her address to party workers at Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence, Sasikala claimed to have the support of 15 million people. "It is my duty to lead the party and government. The maneuvering of a few people cannot hurt this mass movement which has 1.5 crore supporters left behind by Amma (Jayalalithaa)," she said.
Those in support of Panneerselvam
MLA and school education K Pandiarajan and four Members of Parliament (MPs) -- PR Sundaram, K Ashok Kumar, V Sathyabama and Vanaroja -- switched over to Panneerselvam's camp on Saturday.
Party veteran and spokesperson C Ponnaiyan also drove to Panneerselvam's residence and offered his support. The Panneerselvam camp now has seven of the 135 MLAs, including him.
Other senior leaders of the AIADMK who have extended their support include former minister M M Rajendra Prasad, AIADMK number two Madhusudanan and Rajya Sabha MLA V Maitreyan, who urged President Pranab Mukherjee and the central government to take "severe action" against Sasikala, for her "threatening" statement against the Governor.
Sathyabama accused Sasikala of favouring those who were "rejected" by late Jayalalithaa. "Today, those were rejected by Amma are holding big positions there (Sasikala group)," Satyabama said, flanked by Panneerselvam and other leaders of his faction.
In a veiled attack on Jayalalithaa, Sathyabama said, "A priest, though venerable, cannot become God, and similarly nobody can become Amma".
Meanwhile, AIADMK Presidium Chairman KA Sengottaiyan said all MLAs and ministers were behind Sasikala and keen to make her Chief Minister. "All MLAs and ministers are unanimous in their thinking that we have to make her (Sasikala) Chief Minister and we are striving in this regard," he said.
Calling Sasikala as the "temporary general secretary", Panneerselvam said, "The Council can only appoint a temporary general secretary. Proper elections have to be held to elect a general secretary according to the party by-laws. People are on my side".
The acting Chief Minister also said he has the support of the AIADMK leaders and would prove his majority in the assembly.
Security has, meanwhile, been beefed up in the city with intensified patrolling and checking of places of accommodation to prevent anti-social elements from creating any law and order issues, police said.
(WION with inputs from PTI, ANI)