Minister K Pandiarajan, O Panneerselvam’s Top Catch, Says More Lawmakers Will Dump VK Sasikala
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam welcomes AIADMK lawmaker Pandiarajan into his camp.
CHENNAI: As he walked into Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s arms with ‘Amma’ on his lips, AIADMK lawmaker K Pandiarajan declared that more legislators too would walk away from general secretary VK Sasikala who has been waiting for an invite from Raj Bhavan.
One of the more vocal Sasikala loyalists till recently, the support from the state’s School Education Minister came as a shot in the arm for Panneerselvam who, till yesterday appeared to have the support of just six of the party’s 134 legislators, in the 234-member state assembly. On Saturday, two sitting AIADMK MPs PR Sundaram and K Ashok Kumar also joined hands with the Chief Minister who already has the backing of the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Dr Maitreyan.
“All MLAs want AIADMK to be united. All will come here. We are answerable to voters. Now MGR’s two leaves symbol, Amma redeemed will fly with pride,” he declared, a message aimed as much at the Chief Minister’s supporters as to an anxious Ms Sasikala who reminded Governor C Vidyasagar Rao that she had waited for seven days.
A broad smile on his face, Panneerselvam said, “Amma’s soul has worked on Pandiarajan. I invite all the MLAs to join this fight” to ensure that the party does not fall into the hands of Sasikala and her family.
Panneerselvam had put in his papers on Sunday less than a month after he was sworn in to make space for Sasikala who was elected leader of the AIADMK legislature. But he had second thoughts and decided to bid for retaining power, an announcement that he made after meditating at Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach.
This isn’t the first time that Pandiarajan is switching sides. After flirting with the BJP more than a decade earlier, the XLRI alumnus made his electoral debut from actor Vijayakanth’s DMDK in the 2011 assembly polls. He crossed over to the AIADMK before the 2016 state polls and was inducted into J Jayalalithaa’s council of ministers in August last year. He represents Avadi, a suburb of Chennai, in the assembly. – NDTV
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