Panneerselvam revolts: Too late?

Is the revolt by Panneerselvam too little, too late?

Is the revolt by Panneerselvam too little, too late?
Is the revolt by Panneerselvam too little, too late?

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap] political tsunami by name Panneer has struck Tamil Nadu. After a meditation lasting for more than 30 minutes at the memorial of his mentor Jayalalithaa, chief minister O Panneerselvam told the world that he was insulted, humiliated and disgraced by Sasikala, the party general secretary and her family members. Panneerselvam who tendered his resignation to the Governor to facilitate the coronation of Sasikala as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, declared that her elevation as general Secretary on December 29, 2016, itself was a big fraud perpetrated on the people of Tamil Nadu.

He said the appointment of Sasikala as party general secretary itself was against the wish of late chief minister and party boss Jayalalithaa.

Addressing the journalists who rushed to Marina Beach on hearing that the chief minister was sitting in meditation at the spot where Jayalalithaa was interred, Panneerselvam said he was summoned to Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence on Sunday and was asked to submit his resignation in order to make Sasikala the chief minister.

He said the appointment of Sasikala as party general secretary itself was against the wish of late chief minister and party boss Jayalalithaa. The stage is set for a major split in the AIADMK as general secretary Sasikala has convened an emergency meeting of party seniors which was in progress at the time of going to press.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]P[/dropcap]anneerselvam said that the legislature party meeting of the AIADMK held at the party headquarters on Sunday was convened without his knowledge. “I was busy attending to works related to the oil spill off Chennai coast when I got a summons from Deda Nilayam. I rushed there and saw most of the ministers, party office bearers and immediate family members of Sasikala in a huddle there. I was asked to make way for Sasikala as it was the decision of the party as well as the MLAs that the same person should hold both the positions, that of the general secretary and the chief minister. Though I asked what was the urgency in having a change in leadership, I was told by Sasikala’s relations to fall in line in the interests of maintaining unity of the party,” said Panneerselvam. He added he had nothing to tell them and he rushed to party headquarters and tendered the resignation.

Panneerselvam disclosed that Sasikala was never the choice of Jayalalithaa as the party general secretary.

In what could be a major bombshell announcement, Panneerselvam disclosed that Sasikala was never the choice of Jayalalithaa as the party general secretary. Five days before the passing away of Jayalalithaa, I was summoned by her to the hospital and told that in the eventuality of her demise, Madhusoodanan, the Party Presidium Chairman should be appointed as the general secretary and I should take over as the chief minister,” said Panneerselvam.

He said immediately after the passing away of Jayalalithaa, the legislature party was convened and unanimously elected him as the chief minister. “Immediately after that, health minister Vijayabhaskar met me and told me that TTV Dhinakaran, brother of Sasikala, had asked him to convey to me that Sasikala should be appointed as the general secretary of the party. When I told him that the decision of Amma was to appoint Madhusoodanan, he said the party could be held together only if Sasikala was elected as the general secretary. This was what happened in the general council meeting which was held on December 29,” disclosed Panneerselvam.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he chief minister, further stated that immediately after the appointment of Sasikala as general secretary, some of the ministers started demanding that he should step down and Sasikala be elevated as chief minister. “Though I expressed my dilemma to Sasikala about the behaviour of the ministers, she asked me to ignore it and concentrate on my work. Then there were a lot of developments like Varda cyclone which necessitated my full concentration. This was followed by Jallikattu agitation and the drinking water crisis faced by Chennai. We sorted out these issues one by one. By the time these issues were resolved, the die has been cast to oust me,” said Panneerselvam He also pointed out that “deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha Thambi Durai had issued a statement in his official letterhead demanding that Sasikala should be made the chief minister,” said Panneerselvam.

To questions by some of the journalists whether he would take back the letter of resignation, Panneerselvam declared that he would do so if the majority of the MLAs asked him.

The major political drama started unfolding at 9PM when he drove down to Marina Beach and sat in meditation at the site where former chief minister J Jayalalithaa was laid to rest. Panneerselvam, in his trade mark white dhoti and shirt with the holy ash on his forehead, sat on the ground adjoining the Jayalalithaa Memorial, with his eyes closed and without making any movements.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]were no armed guards or commandos surrounding him when he entered the area earmarked as Jayalalithaa Memorial. The chief minister was unaccompanied by any of the ministers. At 9:39PM he got up, with tears in his eyes, offered a sashtang namaskar at the memorial and went around the tomb. By that time, the police had cordoned off and floodlighted the entire area.

By the time Panneerselvam came out of the memorial, thousands had gathered in Marina Beach bringing back to mind the Occupy Marina Beach agitation staged in the last week of January for permission to conduct Jallikattu.

Uma Anand, a social activist who does not hesitate to speak her mind out, rushed to Marina Beach with her friends and associates to offer moral support to the chief minister. “Better you also join us in this mission. I am sure he is praying to Jayalalithaa to come back and save Tamil Nadu from the present predicament,” Anand said.

While all 24X7 news TV channels switched over to Marina Beach and started telecasting the live visuals of the chief minister from the Jayalalithaa Memorial, Jaya TV, the mouthpiece of the AIADMK blacked out the entire show.

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Aashish is a technology & finance professional with many years of global experience in multiple roles.

He is a frequent contributor on Banking, Money, Investing, Technology and Education.

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