Tamil Nadu

Panneerselvam had ‘resigned voluntarily’, says Sasikala

In this February 7, 2017 picture, the then TN Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam meditates at the Jayalalithaa memorial in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Former interim general secretary of the AIADMK, V.K. Sasikala on Tuesday said the party coordinator, O. Panneerselvam, had resigned “voluntarily” as Chief Minister in February 2017.

“Had he not done that, I would have retained him (as CM),” she claimed, in response to observations of her supporter, Sivanesan of Theni, who was heard telling her that “If Ayya (Mr Panneerselvam) had not quit then, he would even have prevented you out from undertaking ‘vanavasam’ (her going to a Bengaluru jail to serve a four-year-long sentence).”

An audio clip of the tele conversation between Ms. Sasikala and Mr. Sivanesan was released by her office. It was one of nine audio clips that were made available to the media during the day.

(On February 7, 2017, Mr. Panneerselvam, a few days after he had announced his decision to step down from the post and proposed Ms Sasikala as leader of AIADMK Legislature Party, told reporters that he was “compelled” to quit.)

In her conversation , Ms. Sasikala, referring to the AIADMK leadership expelling several of its members on Monday for having spoken to her, wondered what was “the point in going on sacking the party workers” and whether this was the way to treat those “who have worked for the party sincerely.” In another conversation, she expressed surprise over the expulsion of V. Pugazhendhi, spokesperson of the party.

During telephonic talk with many others, she said she decided to “step aside” from politics in March as “they (alluding to the camp of former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami) had felt that they could accomplish victory in the Assembly election on their own.” The AIADMK regime could have retained power had “they cooperated [with her] and heeded to her call for unity,” she claimed.

Emphasising that she would not let the party “get destroyed,” Ms. Sasikala reiterated her position that as soon as the intensity of the novel coronavirus lessened and normality returned, she would go around the State and meet all the workers of the party. She expressed confidence that she could “set right” the party.

She likened the present situation to the one after the death of the party founder M.G. Ramachandran in December 1987 when the cadres of the party, according to her, were completely behind Jayalalithaa and the rest functioned as a separate bloc [supporting Janaki Ramachandran].

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 4:46:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/panneerselvam-had-resigned-voluntarily-says-sasikala/article34824317.ece

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