In boost to Panneerselvam, veteran AIADMK leader C Ponnaiyan joins OPS camp

According to reports, Rao will arrive in Chennai at 3.30 pm today and will immediately meet AIADMK chief Sasikala along with the party legislators.

He accused Sasikala of staging a coup against him by asking him to step down as chief minister and said he did not want to continue in a party and government ruled by her.

Sasikala is expected to hold discussions with the MLAs about the prevailing situation, party sources said.

Former Tamil Nadu minister E Madhusudanan has thrown in his lot with O Panneerselvam. While there are unconfirmed reports of almost 100 MLAs kept isolated at the luxury resort near Mahabalipuram, the Sasikala faction appears to be impatient to take power.

Earlier Sasikala addressed party workers at her Poes Garden residence and said that they could be patient only to an extent.

Sasikala had appointed another senior leader Dindigul C. Srinivasan as the treasurer.

On Friday, Rao reportedly made it clear that he will await the Supreme Court judgment in the disproportionate assets case against Sasikala before taking a decision on the chief ministership.

Hitting back at Sasikala, Madusudanan has written to the poll panel urging it to not to recognise her as AIADMK general secretary, saying she was not elected to the post as per party by-laws. "We are not like birds in a cage", said another legislator. Rajya Sabha MP V.Maitreyan said, "I feel that the rank and file of the party will rally behind Panneerselvam".

While the BJP is doing its best to exploit the breach in Tamil Nadu to leverage its own power, presence and influence, the Congress is playing a game of wait and watch.

AIADMK Chief VK Sasikala has clearly forgotten her own march to this powerful position, dotted with the many times that she had fallen out with Amma J Jayalalithaa. "Similarly, a panel to protect the properties of late leader Jayalalithaa will be formed", said Madhusudhanan. With both sides claiming support of the majority of the 134 AIADMK MLAs in the 234-member assembly, the focus shifted to Governor Vidyasagar Rao to end the uncertainty.

Madusudanan told reporters about the letter shortly before he was sacked from AIADMK by Sasikala for acting against the party.

  • Leroy Wright