Tamil Nadu Minister, 4 MPs joins Chief Minister Panneerselvam’s camp

Tamil Nadu Minister, 4 MPs joins Chief Minister Panneerselvam’s camp

CHENNAI (INDIA): O Panneerselvam today got a boost, with an MLA and 4 MPs of AIADMK joining him after deserting V K Sasikala who threatened to hold protest tomorrow while targeting Governor Vidyasagar Rao for the delay in swearing her in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.nnSasikala, the AIADMK General Secretary who met the legislators supporting her at a retreat near here, said tonight that the delay by the Governor in inviting her to form the government appeared to “facilitate split in our party.”nnEarlier in the day, she wrote to the Governor, asking him to take steps immediately to swear her in at the earliest. She said she was ready to parade the party MLAs supporting her before him.nnHer outburst came as MLA and School Education Minister K Pandiarajan and four MPs — P R Sundaram, K Ashok Kumar, V Sathyabama and Vanaroja — switched over to the Chief Minister’s camp, pledging their support to him amid mounting pressure from the party cadres and apparent public sentiment.nnParty veteran C Ponnaiyan, party spokesman and minister in the MGR Cabinet, also drove to Panneerselvam’s residence and offered his support.nnAfter these switchovers, Panneerselvam camp now has seven MLAs, including him. In the 235-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, AIADMK has 135 MLAs.nnA former minister M M Rajendra Prasad also joined the Chief Minister’s camp.nnRattled by the desertions, Sasikala, who has been elected the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party on February 5, drove to the luxury resort, 100 km from here, in an attempt to prevent the MLAs who have been put up there for the last three days from switching sides.nnK A Sengottaiyan, who was appointed the presidium chairman after the removal of Madhusudhanan, told reporters after Sasikala’s meeting with the MLAs that all of them have taken a pledge that they will back her to the hilt till she becomes Chief Minister.nnAs the Governor remained indecisive even 48 hours after she staked claim to form the government, Sasikala tonight said, “We waited till today. Tomorrow, we will protest in another form.”nnHowever, she did not elaborate what she meant by protesting in “another form.”nnReferring to the “delay” by the Governor in inviting her to form the government, Sasikala said it appeared “if such delay was happening to facilitate split in our party.”nnEarlier, speaking to reporters here after returning from a resort where she held a meeting with her party legislators, she said she met all the legislators and they are “all fine”.nnShe said she had the satisfaction of meeting “AIADMK family members.”nnAsked if her party was contemplating any legal steps on the matter, Sasikala responded, “Please wait and see.”nnMeeting partymen at her residence, Sasikala also gave a veiled warning over the “delay” in being sworn in and said, “we are being patient because of our belief in fairness and trust in democracy. But we can be patient only to a limit but beyond that we will decide what we will do.” .nnSource: Press Trust of India

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