Jayalalithaa's death to be probed; if required will withdraw my resignation: Panneerselvam

After raising a banner of revolt against V K Sasikala, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said on Wednesday that he will withdraw his resignation, if required, and said his strength will come to be known in the state Assembly.

Panneerselvam, sacked as AIADMK Treasurer by Sasikala on Wendesday night following his outburst against her, insisted she was made General Secretary of the party under "extraordinary circumstances" following Jayalalithaa's death.

Election will be held soon to elect the "permanent" general secretary," he added.

Striking an aggressive stance, Panneerselvam said his strength will come to be known in the state Assembly.

"If required, I will withdraw my resignation," said Panneerselvam, who was flanked by Pandian, party's Rajya Sabha MP Maithreyan and others including VC Aarukutty.

Panneerselvam. PTI

Panneerselvam. PTI

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister also made it know that he could not meet Jayalalithaa even once during her 75 days of hospitalisation and said he would recommend an inquiry commission under a sitting Supreme Court judge to probe the "doubts" surrounding the health condition and demise of the late leader.

He said he will reach out to the people by going from street to street and welcomed the idea of working together with Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Jayakumar, who is also opposed to Sasikala's elevation.

Panneerselvam also dismissed Sasikala's charge that DMK was behind his revolt against the party leadership and said she has no powers to sack him as Treasurer.

"She should be asked to explain the basis of her charge. I was never cordial with DMK. A look back into the history will make it clear," he said.

"There is no relationship at all between me and the DMK. Its only the human approach to reciprocate when some one smiles at you. That is the difference between animals and humans," he said.

He was apparently referring to Sasikala last night pointing to the exchange of pleasantries between him and DMK Working President M K Stalin, the Leader of the opposition in the Assembly, during the recent session.

Panneerselvam also stuck to his charge that he was forced to resign from the post of Chief Minister, but declined to answer a question whether he would stake claim with the Governor to continue, saying "Just wait and watch."

"I don't want to go into it. I had already explained in detail at Amma's (Jayalalithaa) memorial the circumstances under which I was forced to resign," he said.

Elaborating on his contention that Sasikala had no powers to sack him from the party post, Panneerselvam said already there were legal problems facing the party.

He said General Secretary was elected on a temporary basis in view of the extraordinary situation faced by the party (after Jayalalithaa's demise).

"This is the party's norm. As per the party's constitution framed by founder M G Ramachandran at the time floating the AIADMK, legal sanction for the post will come only when all primary members elect the General Secretary. Such a General Secretary alone has the powers to appoint or remove party functionaries," he said.

On the attack against him by AIADMK leaders, including his cabinet colleagues, Panneerselvam said it was a "compulsion of time".

"They can only speak like that when they are there (with Sasikala). They are in a state of mind of retaining their office for the next four years. They should act keeping in mind that they have to go back to the people," he said.

On the charge that he had betrayed the party high command, the senior leader said he resigned when he was forced only because he did not want the charge to fall on him.

Recalling he had been appointed Chief Minister when Jayalalithaa 'faced challenges' (court conviction), Panneerselvam said he had always abided by the principles and ideals of party founder M G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa.

About allegations of BJP backing him, Panneerselvam said, "it was a lie."

Panneerselvam also said, "A Supreme Court judge will head the probe into the death of Jayalalithaa."

He said there were a lot of questions about the death of the leader who passed away on 5 December, 2016, after being admitted at the Apollo Hospital for 75 days.

On Tuesday, PH Pandian along with his son Manoj Pandian, a former Rajya Sabha member, charged that Jayalalithaa's death was unnatural.

The senior Pandian, was the Speaker when the iconic AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran was the chief minister.

Manoj Pandian also claimed that Jayalalithaa had once told him that she may be poisoned to death.

"When 'Thuglaq' Editor Cho Ramaswamy and I were Directors of Jaya TV, she (Jayalalithaa) told us that she fears this group would poison her to death," Manoj Pandian said. Ramaswamy died on 6 December, 2016.

Panneerselvam said the Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao is functioning within the frame of the Constitution.

He added that he had never breached the party's principles.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 09, 2017 11:36:54 IST

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