Chennai: Tamil Nadu’s ‘caretaker’ Chief Minister O Panneerselvam may send the police to a luxury resort near Chennai where AIADMK MLAs are being “held captive” by the party’s interim chief VK Sasikala, an AIAMDK leader told CNN-News18 on Sunday.
Panneerselvam may send the police to Golden Bay resort in Mahabalipuram tomorrow (Monday) to “free” the MLAs, said Durai Pandian, who has sided with Panneerselvam in Tamil Nadu’s political tug-of-war.
Sasikala visited the MLAs at the resort for the second straight day on Sunday. Addressing a press conference, she denied that MLAs were being detained against their wishes and accused the “defectors” of spreading “false news”.
“None of the MLAs are being held captive. They all have access to their mobile phones and are in constant touch with their families. They have received threats from some people,” she said with a photo of the late J Jayalalithaa kept beside her.
Asked to comment on the pending Supreme Court verdict in a disproportionate case against her, Sasikala said: “Why speculate before the verdict. Let’s wait for it.”
Earlier in the day, she denied writing “suicide letter” to the Governor and condemned those “who wrote the fake letter”.
"A fake letter in my name is doing the rounds in social media and a friend brought it to my notice. You (media) should also see it. It is very difficult for a woman to be in politics. Have seen that during Purathchi Thalaivi's (revolutionary leader, a term fondly used by Jayalalithaa's supporters to address her) times also, but she overcame it," Sasikala had said.
"The MLAs are with me… As General Secretary, I can tell you that the AIADMK government will certainly continue for the next four-and-a- half years and serve people," she said.
Team Sasikala has expressed confidence that the Governor will invite her to form the government, and has claimed the support of majority MLAs.
Panneerselvam’s rebellion, meanwhile, grew in numbers with four more AIADMK parliamentarians pledging support to him, taking the number of party MPs backing him to 10. The latest to join his camp are Lok Sabha members Jaisingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin), Senguttuvan (Vellore), RP Marutharaja (Perambalur) and S Rajendran (Villupuram).
Governor Vidyasagar Rao, who holds the additional charge of Tamil Nadu and arrived in Chennai from Mumbai this week, has not given any indication of his decision. He, however, met AIADMK veteran V Maitreyan, who was among the first to back Panneerselvam, on Sunday evening.