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AIADMK Leaders Jump Ship to Panneerselvam Camp As Sasikala Awaits Governor's Invite

As the Raj Bhawan continues with its wait-and-watch approach, the momentum in the struggle for power in Tamil Nadu seemed titling towards ‘caretaker’ chief minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday with three key party leaders and two MPs switching over to his side from rival VK Sasikala camp.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:February 11, 2017, 7:03 PM IST
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AIADMK Leaders Jump Ship to Panneerselvam Camp As Sasikala Awaits Governor's Invite
File photo of O Panneerselvam. (PTI)
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Chennai: AS the Raj Bhawan continues with its wait-and-watch approach, the momentum in the struggle for power in Tamil Nadu seemed titling towards ‘caretaker’ chief minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday with three top party leaders and two MPs switching over to his side from rival VK Sasikala camp.

There were reports that Sasikala may not be averse to relinquishing her claim to the CM’s post and instead nominate senior leaders Edapady Palaniswami or KA Sengottiyan to the post. Sasikala drove into the Golden Bay resorts on the outskirts of Chennai, where around 129 MLAs of the party are being “kept”.

Also Read: K Pandiarajan: Minister Who Jumped Ship to Rattle Chinamma's Camp

However, Sengottiyan himself came out of the resort on Saturday evening after a meeting of Sasikala and the MLAs, and clarified there was no such move. “Only Chinamma Sasikala can be the chief minster, and no one else,” he said.

Political commentators interpreted the move as a last-ditch effort to arrest the steady flow of leaders from her camp to that of Panneerselvam.

Also Read:
Sasikala threatened Governor, Take Severe Action: AIADMK MP

Education minister Mafoi Pandyarajan who until Friday was spearheading the Sasikala camp strategy set the theme for Saturday when he drove into the residence of Panneerselvam on Saturday afternoon pledging his support. AIADMK founding member C Ponnaiyan followed him and there were reports that fisheries minister D Jayapal too has pledged his support.

Pandirajan addressed the media and cadre at Panneerselvam’s residence. “As a CM, Panneerselvam has performed well and he has a lot of ground support. All MLAs will vote for him,” he said, demanding a floor test in the assembly. “We have support of 135 MLAs,” he claimed.

Earlier, two AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs PR Sundaram and K Ashok Kumar extended their support to Panneerselvam.

Also Read: Will be Patient, Then do What Needs to be Done, Says Sasikala

The Sasikala camp has written another letter to the Governor seeking an appointment saying she would like to meet Rao along with part MLAs regarding “further course of action to form the government”.

At the Golden Bay resort she went into a huddle with her MLAs even as supporters raised slogans outside.

The power struggle simmering inside AIADMK after the passing away of J Jayalalithaa came into the open early this week when Panneerlvam dramatically revolted against ‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala who had been elected as the legislature party leader.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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