Sasikala meets governor, stakes claim to form govt

OPS has support of a few MLAs, presidium chief

Sasikala meets governor, stakes claim to form govt

AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala on Thursday staked claim to form the government in Tamil Nadu after handing over a list of MLAs supporting her to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao.

This was a couple of hours after caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam met Rao.
Sasikala also submitted individual letters of support furnished by AIADMK MLAs to the governor.

But the suspense over whether she will be sworn in as the new chief minister continued. There was no immediate word from Raj Bhavan on the governor’s next course of action. Some reports suggested that he wanted to obtain further legal opinion before taking any action.

Before proceeding to Raj Bhavan, Sasikala paid homage at the memorial of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa. In a symbolic gesture, she placed the list at the memorial.

Accompanied by a delegation of senior ministers, she met the governor at 7.30 pm and handed over to him the resolution electing her as the AIADMK legislature party leader. The meeting lasted about 40 minutes.

Earlier, Panneerselvam received a shot in the arm when AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan, who is the only office bearer empowered to conduct the party’s general council meeting, switched loyalties and visited his home.

Panneerselvam currently also has the support of former ministers K P Munusamy and Natham R Viswanathan, Rajya Sabha MP V Maithreyan and a few MLAs. “I am confident that a good decision will come,” Panneerselvam, who has been asserting that he will prove his majority in the assembly, said after meeting the governor.

Panneerselvam warned that if Sasikala continued to level baseless charges against him, “I will be compelled to reveal certain information.” However, he did not elaborate.

The caretaker chief minister  accused Sasikala of having “betrayed” the late leader and demanded that her Poes Garden residence, currently occupied by Sasikala, be declared a memorial.

By accommodating people who were expelled in 2011 by Jayalalithaa at the ‘Veda Nilayam’ Poes Garden residence, Sasikala has “betrayed” Amma, he said.

Panneerselvam also said that Jayalalithaa’s personal articles should be protected, adding that “this would be the first step in the struggle to declare it a memorial”.

Addressing his supporters, Panneerselvam claimed Sasikala had given a “false declaration that she had not even thought of betraying Amma,” in an apology letter she had purportedly written to Jayalalithaa while being readmitted to the party after being expelled.

“Sasikala is saying that I have betrayed. Who has betrayed? Her letter to Amma in 2012 will say who has betrayed (Jayalalithaa and the party),” he said.

Reading out the letter, he claimed Sasikala had acknowledged that “what her relatives and friends had done was unpardonable” and a “blatant betrayal”, and went on to ask if by accommodating them in the late chief minister’s house she had not “committed betrayal”.

“People will teach a lesson to Sasikala,” he said.
The governor, who stayed put in Mumbai even after Sasikala’s election as AIADMK legislature party leader, arrived in Chennai in the afternoon. Rao, the governor of Maharashtra, holds additional charge of Tamil Nadu.

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