July 05 2020
OPS says he agreed to be CM for only 3 months
11 December 2018

‘Was persuaded to take up post despite disinclination to do so’

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has claimed that he told the family of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s aide V.K. Sasikala in December 2016 that he would hold the post of Chief Minister only for three months.

Mr. Panneerselvam told The Hindu in a recent interview that despite conveying his initial disinclination to take up the post after Jayalalithaa’s death, did so after he was persuaded by an emissary of V. Divaharan, the younger brother of Sasikala, to change his decision in the “interests of the party and the government.”

It was at that time that he conveyed to the emissary that he would be there only for three months, by when his successor should be chosen. “I had told him that I would provide my full cooperation,” Mr. Panneerselvam said.

Subsequently, he claimed that the way he handled relief work in the wake of Cyclone Vardah that hit Chennai and surrounding areas in early 2017, secured Krishna water for Chennai by holding talks with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and got the Centre’s approval for an ordinance on Jallikattu had turned the Sasikala family against him.

However, on Monday AMMK founder T.T.V. Dhinakaran, nephew of Sasikala, countered this. He said it was Sasikala who had made Mr. Panneerselvam the Chief Minister. But, the manner in which he had conducted himself while in power, made other Ministers, including Edappadi K. Palaniswami, complain to her that he was becoming “pro-BJP”, Mr. Dhinakaran told The Hindu on Monday. On the issue of Jallikattu, he argued that “popular pressure” and not any other factor had compelled the Centre to agree to the ordinance. Only the BJP and the media had sought to project Mr. Panneerselvam as a “larger than life figure” but he proved to be a “failure.”

Mr. Dhinakaran accused the Deputy Chief Minister of making statements for “political gains.”



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