Panneerselvam only person to lead AIADMK, says Ponnaiyan

| Updated: Feb 12, 2017 00:08 IST

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Feb. 11 (ANI): Extending his support to O. Panneerselvam, senior AIADMK leader C. Ponnaiyan on Saturday said the interim Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is the only person who can lead the party and not party general secretary V.K. Sasikala Natarajan. "O. Panneerselvam is the only person who can lead the party. No one else can, including Sasikala Natarajan. In present situation, the person who has been with the party for so many years assumed duty of Chief Minister for two times if only O. Panneerselvam," Ponnaiyan told the media. In a big jolt to Sasikala, Ponnaiyan earlier in the day met Panneerselvam and extended his support to him. Hours after she dispatched a letter to Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao requesting him to immediately meet her, Sasikala drove in to a resort near Chennai to meet party lawmakers. According to reports, village residents have complained that their roads are being blocked and street-lights are switched off at night, all to ensure the MLAs can remain locked in. AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP V. Maitreyan earlier today urged President Pranab Mukherjee and the Central Government to take "severe action" against Sasikala, for her "threatening" statement against the state governor. Earlier in the day, in a letter to Tamil Nadu governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, Sasikala recalled that she had met him on February 9 along with her senior ministers, consequent to her seeking an appointment with him to hand over the letter of party MLAs electing her as their leader. Sasikala said she was initially reluctant to take the responsibility of the Chief Minister as she was struck with grief following former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa's death. Sasikala's comments came after Panneerselvam alleged that he was told to quit the Chief Minister's post to protect party's discipline and failure to follow would be a violation of party discipline. Calling Sasikala as the "temporary general secretary", Panneerselvam said, "The Council can only appoint a temporary general secretary. Proper elections have to be held to elect a general secretary according to the party bye-laws. People are on my side." He said he would also seek the support of Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Jayakumar, saying "I have always had respect for Amma's brother's children. I will give Deepa the respect she needs. The acting Chief Minister also said he has the support of the AIA DMK leaders and would prove his majority in the assembly. (ANI)
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