AIADMK, the story so far

Arukutty now in Edappadi camp

V.C. Arukutty, the MLA representing the Kavundampalayam constituency in Coimbatore district, who on Friday quit the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) faction led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, formally joined the ruling AIADMK (Amma) here on Sunday, in the presence of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami. With this, the number of MLAs supporting Mr. Panneerselvam has reduced to 10, as Mylapore MLA R. Nataraj, who voted against the Palaniswami government in February, has not associated himself with the AIADMK (PTA).

The two-time MLA called on the Chief Minister at the latter’s residence in Highways Colony in Salem, and formally joined the ruling faction of the AIADMK. Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly Pollachi V. Jayaraman — both hailing from Coimbatore district — were present at the occasion.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr. Arukutty claimed that he joined AIADMK (Amma) in deference to the wishes of the voters in his constituency, whom he had been consulting over the past few days.

According to him, he had previously submitted a memorandum to then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, seeking various development projects for his constituency. Despite his siding with the OPS faction until recently, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had sanctioned various projects, including a power sub-station, police station and funds to the tune of ₹2 crore for bridge work in his constituency, he said.

The voters, he claimed, wanted him to be part of the ruling faction in order to secure more development projects for his constituency. “My constituency and its voters are my priority, and hence, I have joined the ruling faction,” he said.

Mr. Arukutty reiterated that he had been sidelined from the Panneerselvam camp ever since he thanked the Chief Minister for sanctioning projects for his constituency while speaking in the Assembly, and that his pleas to the leadership of AIADMK (PTA) in this regard had fallen on deaf ears.

He replied in the negative when asked whether he was given any assurances in return for switching sides.

The party cadre want both the factions to merge, he said, adding that he would work towards this goal. “A free and frank talk between Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Panneerselvam will help solve the present crisis in the party. I will seek to persuade the Chief Minister on this aspect,” he said. “The Palaniswami-led government is performing exceedingly well and has earned accolades even from opposition parties,” he said.

When asked whether he will continue to oppose jailed party leader V.K. Sasikala, Mr. Arukutty replied that she, along with her family members, had already been sidelined from the party. “The Chief Minister will take decisions regarding party affairs and we will abide by them,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 11:02:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/arukutty-now-in-edappadi-camp/article19338351.ece

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