Six more MPs join OPS, Sasikala tries to keep flock intact

Police affidavit on 'captive' MLAs today

Six more MPs join OPS, Sasikala tries to keep flock intact
Support grew for Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, locked in a bruising feud with AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, with six more MPs crossing over to his camp on Sunday.

However, all eyes will be on the Tamil Nadu Police, which is expected to submit an affidavit to the Madras High Court on Monday with regard to the AIADMK MLAs who were lodged in a resort.

Following habeas corpus petitions charging that the MLAs were detained forcibly, the cases pertaining to the legislators’ condition will come up for hearing on Monday.
A police team went to the resort on Saturday to find out whether the MLAs were being held captive, police sources said.

Though there was no official communication from the police, sources said the authorities met all the MLAs and inquired about their status since the petitions charged that the legislators were not only detained forcibly, but also restrained from using phones to contact their families.

With no information from the Raj Bhavan about its decision on the fate of the ruling party, Sasikala, who visited the resort for the second consecutive day, said her party MLAs will extend support any time.

On the purported delay by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao in inviting her to form the government and the MPs crossing over to the Panneerselvam camp, she said, “You very well know the reason.”

“They (MLAs) were also aware that some people were trying to divide the party,” she added. An emotional Sasikala, who extended greetings to the governor on his 75th birthday, claimed she is ready to sacrifice her life to save AIADMK.

Meanwhile, five more AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs from Tuticorin, Perambalur, Vellore, Villupuram and Theni switched their allegiance to the Panneerselvam camp, taking the number to 11. Rajya Sabha MP R Lakshmanan also extended support.

The chief minister is confident he will have the support of more MLAs very soon. “We will prove our strength in the Assembly,” he said.

Sasikala displayed a copy of a fake letter reportedly sent by her to the governor, threatening to commit suicide if she was not allowed to form the government.

“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 said.

Tension prevailed for several hours when journalists who went to cover the events at the resort were attacked.

They staged a protest, demanding action against the attackers.
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