The AIADMK crisis: who'll take the party forward?

AIADMK legislators being held captive, tortured by goons, alleges Panneerselvam

AIADMK MPs R.P. Marutharajaa (Perambalur), B. Senguttuvan (Vellore) and J. Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj (Thoothukkudi) extended their support to Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Sunday.  

Questioning the claims made by AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala that her party MLAs were not kept captive in a resort on East Coast Road, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Sunday stated that if that was the case, why was she still retaining them at the resort.

“Even today, I got calls from MLAs who are there.. Each one of them is being surrounded by four goondas and tortured,” Mr. Panneerselvam alleged, while addressing the media at his residence.

He wanted the MLAs to be let free so that they can visit their respective constituencies, interact with the people, gauge their mood and then take a decision on which faction to support.

When asked why he hasn’t issued orders to the police to secure the release of the MLAs, in his capacity as the Chief Minister, he said, “I do not want to create an unusual situation there. We want to deal with this issue peacefully.”

Even as he contended that those who had gathered at his residence were not being confined the way the MLAs were in the resort, Mr. Panneerselvam asked the teeming crowd, “Are you confined here?,” to which they shouted “No!”

He also question why Ms. Sasikala visited Koovathur twice, if was true that the MLAs were not being confined there, and why she didn’t meet the press even once during the 75 days when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised. “This is what the people want to know. This is precisely why we have ordered a judicial probe (into Jayalalithaa’s death).”

Taking a dig at Ms. Sasikala, who called herself a lioness, Mr. Panneerselvam asked, “There are so many people here, including women. Is there anyone here who would call themselves a lion? Will you call yourself a lion?”

Mr. Panneerselvam also contended that Ms. Sasikala didn’t readily allow even Jayalalithaa’s blood relative — Deepa Jayakumar — to see her mortal remains when it was kept at the Rajaji Hall (she was allowed to pay homage only for a fleeting moment after much persuasion). However, when asked whether he urged Ms. Sasikala to allow Ms. Deepa to pay tribute to Jayalalithaa, he didn’t reply directly.

Mr. Panneerselvam claimed that he would prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly.

His supporters had come from neighbouring States like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as well as countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, he said. “They were saying they will not accept Sasikala as the Chief Minister at any point.”

When asked what the reason was behind AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP V. Maitreyan’s visit to the Raj Bhavan, Mr. Panneerselvam termed it a “courtesy call.”

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 5:07:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/AIADMK-legislators-being-held-captive-tortured-by-goons-alleges-Panneerselvam/article17293534.ece

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