Faced with a revolt from O Panneerselvam, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary VK Sasikala on Wednesday said she had got wind of his moves a few days ago itself and asserted that the party remains united and will not be cowed down by such threats.
Sasikala said “betrayal” will never win in the AIADMK and blamed arch rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for trying to destabilise her party.
The opposition so far unseen but emerging now was a proof that “certain developments our rivals don’t desire are happening in the party,” she said in an apparent reference to her elevation.
“That is why there is this flutter. Neither AIADMK nor me will be cowed down by this,” she told a meeting of party MLAs convened here to discuss the situation arising out of Panneerselvam’s revolt against her on Tuesday night.
Sasikala said she had noticed “Panneerselvam joining hands with DMK following their conversation in the assembly,” recently and added that she said duty bound to prevent the next course of action from happening, apparently referring to a revolt.
She referred to the remark of Deputy DMK Leader Durai Murugan who had last week in the assembly favoured Panneerselvam to continue as chief minister for the rest of the term of the current government -- till 2021.
“Panneerselvam not saying anything on this and his silence showed clearly that he had joined hands with DMK. His act had also infuriated the ministers,” she said.
However, responding to Panneerselvam’s charge on Tuesday night on ministers speaking against him and that she had not taken action against them, the party chief said she had actually pulled them up, giving him his due respect.
She recalled she was “not in the frame of mind” to accept the leadership of AIADMK following Jayalalithaa’s demise, although Panneerselvam was one of the proponents of the idea.
Referring to Panneerselvam’s political career, Sasikala said he had been part of the AIADMK Janaki (MGR’s widow) team following the death of the founder MG Ramachandran, before switching over to Jayalalithaa camp.
Jayalalithaa had ‘forgiven’ this and provided him with various opportunities (in the party and government), she added.
“Our rivals are showing their true face. We will prove our might to them. No one has the power or capacity to split or break us. I will solve the confusion arising in people’s minds at the right time,” she said. Sasikala said “betrayal will never win, especially in AIADMK.”
“All these years, I have lived for Amma and would spend the rest of the life fulfilling her dreams,” she said.
“For 33 years, how many happenings, how many shocks. I have faced the many betrayals along with Amma. We had won those, we will win this,” she said.
Many had aided DMK’s “conspiracy” she said while referring to Panneerselvam who last night raised a banner of revolt after meditating at Jayalalithaa’s memorial at the Marina.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Sasikala also said that AIADMK’s rivals were “grouping.”
“They come in the form of betrayals also. The party will not fear these,” she said, invoking MGR’s legacy to face the situation with grit.
“Even if betrayal and rivalry join hands, we will defeat them,” she said.
Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo