The battle for Tamil Nadu took another dramatic turn on Thursday with the AIADMK's Presidium Chairman — the no. 2 in the hierarchy of the party — E Madusudanan pledging his support to O Panneerselvam.
After former Tamil Nadu speaker PH Pandian's scathing criticism of his opponent VK Sasikala yesterday, this move comes as a shot in the arm for OPS, as Panneerselvam is referred to. Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan has also offered his solidarity with OPS.
Earlier on Thursday, OPS went to the airport to meet Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who flew in resolve the political crisis that has pushed the state into an impasse this week.
According to reports, Madhusudanan said "everybody should join hands with OPS" to protect the integrity of the AIADMK, which, left to Sasikala, may turn into an instrument of power in the hands of her unscrupulous family. "Our senior leader Madhusudanan was threatened and pressured. Even after that, he stood alone to safeguard party. We welcome him," Panneerselvam was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Apart from safeguarding the legacy of J Jayalalithaa, or Amma, OPS promised to turn her residence Veda Nilayam, on Chennai's Poes Garden, into a museum dedicated to her memory. He read out excerpts from letters Sasikala had written in 2011-12, declaring she had no political ambitions, only after which she was allowed to come back to the AIADMK by Jayalalithaa. Sasikala had to also sever all ties with her own family members, who Amma suspected of conspiring against her, in order to be allowed in her mentor's presence.
Within hours of Jayalalithaa's demise, Sasikala's family was back to occupying the centre stage, gathering around the leader's body as it lay in state and taking possession of her coveted bungalow. Sasikala was also accused pf "abducting" 130 MLAs belonging to AIADMK and putting them up in luxury hotels across the state to prevent them from defecting to Panneerselvam's camp.
Both Sasikala and OPS are scheduled to meet the governor today to present their respective claims to be the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
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