TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao to arrive in Chennai tomorrow

Chief Minister O. Pannerselvam at Jayalalithaa memorial and AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala at Poes Garden in Chennai on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran, G. Sribharath

Top Developments
  1. Panneerselvam says a judicial inquiry will be instituted into Jayalalithaa's death.
  2. "My appeal to all MLAs is that they should take a firm decision taking into account the feelings of the people in their constituencies," Mr. Panneerselvam says.
  3. Panneerselvam says he will accept Deepa's [Jayalalithaa's niece] support, if offered.
  4. Panneerselvam says he didn't meet Jayalalithaa in Apollo Hospitals.
  5. The outgoing Chief Minister says he was forced to resign.
  6. Sasikala says he will be removed from the primary membership of the party soon.
  7. Newly-appointed party treasurer Dindigul Srinivasan says all MLAs are behind Sasikala.

Political activity in Tamil Nadu peaked on Wednesday with Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam saying a judicial inquiry would be instituted into the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and AIADMK party general secretary V.K. Sasikala alleging later after an urgent party meeting that he had "connived with the Opposition."

Mr. Panneerselvam reiterated that he would prove his majority in the Assembly and appealed to all AIADMK MLAs to take a "firm decision, taking into account the feelings of the people in their constituencies" and Ms. Sasikala asserted that ''nothing can stop us from following Amma's path.''

Here are the updates:

7.20 p.m.

 

Former Minister, AIADMK MLA pledge support to Panneerselvam

Former AIADMK Minister K. Damodaran and music composer Gangai Amaran have come out in support of Mr. Panneerselvam, saying he had backing of the people of Tamil Nadu and also that of party workers.

Talking to reporters in Coimbatore, Mr. Damodaran, a former Agriculture Minister, said Mr. Paneerselvam managed to successfully solve many problems facing the State in the past two months, after Jayalalithaa’s demise.

He also succeeded in getting approved some schemes from the Centre by meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.

Asserting that he does not want to see a split in AIADMK, Mr. Damodaran said support of other MLAs and Ministers will depend on their mental preparedness to face party chief Sasikala.

He said he will go to Chennai to meet Paneerselvam in person.

Earlier, V.C. Arukutty, MLA of Kavundampalayam in Coimbatore district, has reportedly met the Chief Minister at his residence in Chennai.

Meanwhile, Mr. Amaran said in Tirupur that people of the State and party workers were “wholeheartedly” supporting Mr. Panneerselvam.

“Panneerselvam has taken a bold step, which other party MLAs and functionaries failed to take,” he said.

7.05

 

PTI reports: The AIADMK MLAs on Thursday remained mostly inaccessible amid speculation that the legislators were being taken to undisclosed locations to prevent “poaching” by the rival camp.

A senior AIADMK leader, however, said the MLAs are in Chennai and they are not being taken anywhere.

“A section of them are staying put at the Poes Garden residence of party supremo V.K. Sasikala,” he said.

Asked why the legislators are inaccessible, he told PTI, “Under the present circumstances, it is quite reasonable for a political party to take some steps. What is happening now, is quite normal.”

He, however, said the “MLAs continue to be in Chennai and claims that they may be flown to Delhi or elsewhere does not arise now.”

 

6.58 p.m.

Our Mumbai Bureau reports:

Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao will arrive in Chennai on Thursday afternoon.

Our Chennai Bureau adds:

He is expected to land in Chennai at around 3.15 p.m. on Thursday.

 

AIADMK ‘doesn’t want to politicise Governor’s role’

Earlier in the day, the AIADMK sought to distance itself from any controversy around Mr. Rao’s role in inviting party Ms. Sasikala to form the government.

“We don’t want to talk politics. Our only focus is that Chinnamma (Sasikala) has to become Chief Minister. We are striving towards that and we will succeed,” PTI quoted party spokesperson C.R. Saraswathi as saying.

She was responding to a query about the alleged “deliberate delay” by the Governor at the “behest of the Centre” in inviting Ms. Sasikala.

Ms. Saraswathi said the Governor has not come to Chennai so far and that he might be busy with his engagements.

“Let the Honourable Governor come. He has not come to Chennai. After he comes and having known his opinion we can speak. We have given our letter, he might have his appointments. Let’s see after he comes to Chennai,” she said.

She was responding to a query on whether there was “any problem” in Sasikala taking over as Chief Minister despite being elected AIADMK Legislature Party Leader on Sunday.

6.50 p.m.

 

AIADMK MPs reach the Chenani airport to leave for New Delhi to meet the President, report Tamil news channels.

 

 

6.15 p.m.

 

Panneerselvam makes a brief appearance before media. He says a good government as per the people's wish will be formed.  ''I am grateful the support I am getting since last night.'' 

4:45 p.m.

 

TV channels are showing MLAs supporting Ms. Sasikala ''being ferried in buses to 'safe locations'."

In order to pass the floor test in the 234-member Assembly, support of 118 MLAs is needed. With the demise of Jayalalithaa, the House strength is now 233. So 117 MLAs should vote in favour of Ms. Sasikala. The AIADMK has 136 MLAs, including the Speaker. It is unclear as to how many MLAs are supporting Mr. Panneerselvam now.

4 p.m.

Governor stays put in Mumbai

Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao continues to stay put in Mumbai with no indication when he will travel to Chennai.

“The Governor will attend a scheduled event in Mumbai this evening. There is no information yet on his travel plans for either Chennai or Delhi tomorrow,” a Raj Bhavan official told PTI.

On Tuesday, Raj Bhavan sources said Mr. Rao may leave for Chennai in a day or two.

3.50 p.m.

PTI reports:

The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to fish in the troubled waters by instructing the Governor to not go to Tamil Nadu.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao to “forthwith” swear-in O. Panneerselvam or V.K. Sasikala as chief minister.

“I must say it is extremely wrong, unconstitutional and patently illegal on the part of the BJP and the Central government to fish in the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu. They have no business to instruct the Governor to not go to Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Singhvi told reporters on the Parliament premises.

He said the moment Ms. Sasikala or Mr. Panneerselvam proved their majority, Mr. Rao cannot delay the swearing-in even “by a minute“.

“There is nothing in the Constitution, practice, tradition or convention that requires the Governor to delay the swearing-in,” he said.

3.20 p.m.

 

PTI reports:

AIADMK supporters throng Panneerselvam's residence

Scores of AIADMK supporters from across the State are thronging the residence of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to express solidarity with him.

Several cadres, who were seen outside his house on Greenways Road since Tuesday night,raised slogans hailing ‘Amma’ (Jayalalithaa) and vowed they will never call anyone as ‘chinnamma’ (referring to Sasikala).

Posters and placards with messages like “Save AIADMK. Make OPS as CM,” donned the area.

Another poster read: “With blessings of Amma, let’s make OPS the general secretary”.

Whenever there was an entry by a prominent person, the supporters broke into slogans “OPS vaazhga, OPS vaazhga [long live OPS]”.

AIADMK Rajya Sabha member Maithreyan, former Electricity Minister ‘Natham’ Viswanathan, actor and director K. Bhagyaraj were among those who met Mr. Panneerselvam.

 

2:20 p.m.

T.N. political developments find mention in RS

The political crisis in Tamil Nadu found a mention in the Rajya Sabha, but the issue was not allowed to be raised.

Soon after the House met for the day, D Raja (CPI) said that a political crisis was looming large over Tamil Nadu.

As he mentioned that Maharashtra Governor held the additional charge of Tamil Nadu, he was cut short by Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, saying the Tamil people will take care of the situation.

“All Tamilians are capable of taking a decision on it. We have full faith in them,” he said disallowing him and anyone else from raising the issue.

2.10 p.m.

T.K. Rohit reports from outside Panneerselvam's house:

More AIADMK leaders are visiting the Chief Minister. Prominent among them are former Minister Natham Viswanathan and actor Bhagyaraj.  AIADMK rebel leaders Maitreyan, V.C. Arukutty, P.H. Pandian, Paul Manoj Pandian, K.P. Munusamy are also present at Mr. Panneerselvam's house.

1.24 p.m.

Our opponents are after us, says Sasikala

After the urgent meeting of party MLAs, Ms. Sasikala says: "I could sense the acts of the Chief Minister, who completely connived with the Opposition. After Amma's demise, the supporters asked me to take the responsibility; I couldn't, as I was very sad. It has become my responsibility, as a general secretary, to put an end to the wrongdoings committed by Mr. Panneerselvam. Our opponents are after us and spearheading whatever is happening today, but nothing can stop us from following Amma's path.''

V.K. Sasikala waves to the crowd before attending the Legislative Party meeting, in Chennai on Wednesday.

V.K. Sasikala waves to the crowd before attending the Legislative Party meeting, in Chennai on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

 

1.11 p.m.

No notice sent: Election Commission

The Election Commission of India, on February 2, which asked for copies of the resolution on the election of Ms. Sasikala as the general secretary of the party, says no notice has been sent in this regard.

Earlier, Mr. Panneerselvam, made a statement on the election of Ms. Sasikala as the general secretary. He said: "As per party bylaws, a general secretary can be elected only by its cadres through ballots. And, only in extraordinary situations, a person can be appointed in the interim. Soon, a general body meeting should be convened to elect a permanent general secretary. I will meet the people in every nook and corner."

11.42 a.m.

 

A meeting of the AIADMK MLAs begins at the party headquarters in Chennai.  Party general secretary V.K. Sasikala arrives at 11.30 a.m.

Ahead of the meeting, she says: "No force can divide the AIADMK."

 

Earlier, many senior leaders, including K.A. Sengottaiyan, arrive. Two of Ms. Sasikala's relatives  —  Dinakaran and Venkatesh — are seen at the office. It is said that 130 MLAs are attending the meeting.

Read more

Supporters of AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala seem at the party headquarters, in Chennai on Wednesday.

Supporters of AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala seem at the party headquarters, in Chennai on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

 

11.31 a.m.

T.K. Rohit reports:

DMK working president M.K. Stalin says, "Jayalalithaa had smiled at me in the Assembly. Can Ms. Sasikala question Jayalalithaa on this?", in a reference to the AIADMK general secretary's comments that Mr. Panneerselvam and himself smiled at each other (indicating the backing of the DMK to Mr. Panneerselvam). "Do not drag the DMK into this. If you have guts, first answer allegations raised by OPS (sic)."

Earlier in the day, Mr. Pannerselvam dismisses Ms. Sasikala’s charge.

Read more
 

11.30 a.m.

Meanwhile, there are reports of Ms. Sasikala's supporters burning an effigy of Mr. Paneerselvam in Tiruchi.

Meanwhile, there are reports of Ms. Sasikala's supporters burning an effigy of Mr. Paneerselvam in Tiruchi.   | Photo Credit: A. Muralitharan

C. Jaisankar reports that 13 AIADMK workers were arrested in Tiruchi for burning effigies of Mr. Panneerselvam.

 

11.06 a.m

 

Former Assembly Speaker P.H. Pandian says, ''Ms. Sasikala is only concerned only about accumulating wealth.'' He claims that a TV channel will expose the wrong treatment administered to Jayalalithaa. ''There is need to safeguard Mr. Panneerselvam. He cannot be removed from any position,'' he adds.

10.44 a.m.

 

D. Suresh Kumar gives us the updates from Mr. Panneerselvam's press meet:

Mr. Panneerselvam is flanked by Kavundampalayam MLA V.C. Aaru kutty and Rajya Sabha member Maitreyan.

He says he'll withdraw his resignation if given an opportunity to do so and the MLAs will prove their support in the Assembly. ''I am merely following the footsteps of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and I never went against her wishes. It is a lie to say the BJP is behind all this. A judicial inquiry will be instituted into Jayalalithaa's death.

Outgoing Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam addressing the media in Chennai.

Outgoing Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam addressing the media in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: Dennis S. Jesudasan

 

"As per party bylaws, a general secretary can be elected only by its cadres through ballots. And, only in extraordinary situations, a person can be appointed in the interim. Soon, a general body meeting should be convened to elect a permanent general secretary. I will meet the people in every nook and corner. I will accept Deepa's [Jayalalithaa's niece] support, if offered.⁠⁠⁠⁠"

He says he will meet the Governor soon and the Speaker alone can convene a Assembly session.

Leaders, including Mr. P.H. Pandian, his son and former Rajya Sabha member P.H. Paul Manoj Pandian, reach Mr. Panneerselvam's house.

Former Minister K.P. Munusamy, who was the first to speak out against Ms. Sasikala, is seen next to Mr. Panneerselvam.

"My appeal to all MLAs is that they should take a firm decision taking into account the feelings of the people in their constituencies," Mr. Panneerselvam says.

10.41 a.m.

'He revolted only after losing CM post'

Avadi Kumar, spokesperson of the AIADMK, says Mr. Panneerselvam is "raising his voice" only after he lost his post as Chief Minister. “He was acting alone, pursuing his own interests. The party did not gain any goodwill by his acts but on the other hand the party had to face the brunt of the government actions — like the police action against the Jallikattu-bull taming sport protestors.”

Read more
 

9.50 a.m.

 

AIADMK leader S. Semmalai says the Governor should act on Ms. Sasikala's  letter. "Chinnamma [Sasikala] is Amma's political heir. She has a lot of experience, will deliver good governance."
 

Minister O.S. Manian says Ms. Sasikala's swearing-in will happen soon.

Minister ''Ma Foi'' Pandiarajan reiterates that Ms. Sasikala enjoys the support of the majority of the party leaders. "As soon as the Governor comes, 'Chinnamma' will be sworn in as chief minister. We are all unanimous in our support for her."

Security personnel and party cadres outside Poes Garden in Chennai.

Security personnel and party cadres outside Poes Garden in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

 

DMK, BJP react

T.K.S Elangovan of the DMK says, "they cannot blame us for their own deeds....This is what happened even after MGR died."

BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan says the BJP will welcome anyone who can provide stable, corruption-free governance.

Twitter responds | 9.06 a.m.

Mr.  Panneerselvam's address to the media has become one of most talked about topics on Twitter, with #OPannerselvam, #panneerprimetimerevolt, #TNSaysNo2Sasi trending on the platform.

Read more
 

8.52 a.m.

'No information on Governor's return'

Sharad Vyas reports from Mumbai:

No Chennai plans yet for Mr. C. Vidyasagar Rao. His office denies any flights schedule to Chennai, at least till afternoon.

Pannerselvam denies ties with DMK


"I have revealed only 10% of what I have to say, what has happened behind the scenes," says Mr. Panneerselvam

"I have no business ties with the DMK," he says. He also denies that the BJP backs him.

New treasurer


New party treasurer and Minister 'Dindigul' Srinivasan, says all the party MLAs are behind Ms. Sasikala.

Didn't meet Jayalalithaa


''I went to Apollo Hospitals for 75 days, but couldn't meet Jayalalithaa. Only the Governor visited her twice,'' says Mr.  Pannerselvam.

"The treasurer post was given to me by Jayalalithaa 10 years ago. Nobody has the right to remove me from the post of AIADMK's treasurer," he says, addressing the media again at his residence.

Will remove Pannerselvam from party soon


"Mr. Panneerselvam will be removed from the primary membership of the party soon," says Ms. Sasikala

Charge against DMK


Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala will address media separately on Wednesday morning.

The DMK is behind Mr. Panneerselvam's revolt, says Ms. Sasikala.

Flashes the 'V' sign


Ms. Sasikala steps outside from her Poes Garden residence and flashes the 'V' sign.

Mr. Maithreyan meets Mr. Pannerselvam at the latter's residence.

MLAs' allegiance


"All 134 MLAs are with us," says Thambidurai, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker. "It was Mr. Pannerselvam who has backstabbed us."

Here's what H. Raja, National Secretary of the BJP, has to say.

 

Party response


Large crowds gathering outside Poes Garden now

TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao to arrive in Chennai tomorrow

Minister Dindigul Srinivasan has been appointed treasurer of the party.

Sasikala sacks Panneerselvam as AIADMK treasurer.

AIADMK party presidium chairman E. Madhusudhanan arrives at Poes Garden.

TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao to arrive in Chennai tomorrow
 

Public response


CM's speech was genuine and awesome, says a teacher from R.A. Puram

"We want a stable govt and not vested interests of the party. We are concerned about the State. In the current situation OPS is the voice of TN people" says a woman management consultant from Alwarpet.

OPS' achievements


Many cadres list out the achievements of the CM — from getting Krishna water to Chennai to deft handling of the Vardah cyclone.

More crowds throng near the CM's residence.

Only few people raise sloganeering at Poes Garden. Police have barricaded three entrances and are diverting other partyworkers.

Ministers and MLAs are in Poes Gardens for an urgent following Mr. Panneerselvam's revolt.

Panneerselvam's statement


After Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam's bombshell that he was forced to resign on Sunday, supporters are thronging his residence.

After sitting in meditation for over 40 minutes, Mr. Panneerselvam spoke to the media.

Here's what he said:

If people wish, I would even withdraw my resignation, says Panneerselvam.

I would fight to save the party and the goodwill of Jayalalithaa’s legacy, he says.

During this a meeting of MLAs was called. I went to Poes garden. And they said Ms. Sasikala should take over as CM. I thought what was the need for that. I never knew about the MLAs' meeting at all. And I asked why am I being humiliated like this after foisting the job I was not willing to take over, he says.

I never revealed it because I don't want any bad name for the party or Amma's legacy, he says.

Ministers R.B. Udhayakumar and Sellur Raju and Mr. Thambidurai raised voice that Sasikala should become CM. When members of my Council raise a voice against me, I felt humiliated.

While I went to meet the PM, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker sought a separate meeting along with MPs. When I vented my mental agony over this, I didn't get any relief, says Panneerselvam.

As you all know, jallikkattu protests happened. I went to Delhi and lobbied with PM Modi and got an ordinance drafted for reviving jallikattu in consultation with legal experts, he says. 

Then I went to Andhra Pradesh to get Krishna water for Chennai, which too got us good name, he says.

I decided to work as CM to carry forward Jayalalithaa’s legacy. Then cyclonic storm Vardha came. Our work during the storm got us praise. Our work irked certain people, says Mr. Panneerselvam

I was convinced later by Madhusudhanan to take over the mantle, he says. 

AIADMK presidium chairman Madhusudhanan  proposed my name to take over the party’s mantle after Amma’s death. But I did not accept it first, says Panneerselvam.

I have come to Amma's memorial to reveal certain truths, says Panneerselvam after his meditation.

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