I respect Deepa Jayaram as Jayalalithaa's niece: Panneerselvam

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Chennai, Feb 8: Even as AIADMK MLAs gathered at the party headquarters for a meeting with general secretary Sasikala Natarajan, Panneerselvam addressed the press at his residence. With MLAs Manikkam, V Alexander and Aarkutti and one RS MP Maitreyan for support Panneerselvam has rattled Sasikala's camp.

"I will withdraw my resignation if party cadre wants," said Panneerselvam. He added that nobody had the right to remove him from the party post. "We will seek a probe into Amma's death. Doubts about Amma's health are prevalent and hence the government has the duty to probe them. A probe commission will be set up under an SC judge," he added.

Panneerselvam rubbished allegations of the revolt being a BJP conspiracy. "Since 1977, I have worked hard and come to this stage in the party," he said refuting allegations of him being power hungry. I will prove my strength in the assembly," he added. He said that he will go to every city in Tamil Nadu to make his point and present his case to the people.

"Amma was chief minister for nearly 16 years and I happened to become CM twice. I have always followed Amma's path and will work towards her goals for the people of Tamil Nadu," he said.

He assured that he would fulfill his duty without tarnishing Jayalalithaa's name or image. Panneerselvam said that he would meet the governor as soon as he visits Chennai.Speaking on Jayalalithaa's niece further, Panneerselvam said that he would not mind accepting support from Deepa. "I respect Deepa Jayaram as Jayalalithaa's niece," he added.

Lashing out at Sasikala Natarajan he sought fresh elections to the post of general secretary. Lashing out at Sasikala, he sought fresh elections to the post of general secretary. "A proper election must be held to elect a General Secretary to replace the current temporary general secretary."

AIADMK founding member P H Pandian who stood by Panneerselvam as he addressed the media accused Sasikala of being money minded. "I have to protect Panneerselvam and will do it at any cost. They should not trouble either Pannerselvam or the MLAs. If they do, I will file a complaint against them. All that she (Sasikala) cares about is money and wants to grab power," he alleged. He also added to his Tuesday's statement that doctors administered wrong medication to Jayalalithaa while she was hospitalised.

Tamil Nadu political crisis (Live)

"Sasikala's rush to become the chief minister is strange. I am forced to speak out since the party is in crisis. People are losing faith in the AIADMK. Just like I was forced to resign, MLAs are being forced to support Sasikala," he said.

"Everyone was told that she was recovering. Her death came as a shocker. I was not allowed to see Amma at the hospital even once in 70 days. I suppose the governor was allowed to see her once but no one else was. I cannot comment on speculations over her death and only medical experts can," he said on Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation and death.

Panneerselvam

Panneerselvam also claimed that he had much more to disclose but would not leave the party. "I would never defy the party and they used this against me to force me to quit from the chief minister's post. I am an original AIADMK member and I will not quit the party," he said.

He was removed from the post of AIADMK treasurer by Sasikala after an emergency meet. Taking a dig at Sasikala who accused of him being in cahoots with the leader of opposition M K Stalin for smiling at him during the assembly session, Panneerselvam said that smiling was no crime. "The difference between an animal and human being is the power of a smile. Only human being smile and animals don't. I do not think smiling is a crime."

Panneerselvam thanked his followers and in sheer dissent said that Jayalalithaa had given him the post of treasurer in the AIADMK and none could remove him from the same. It is all out war in Tamil Nadu. While the AIADMK is putting out a united face at present, many are expected to jump camps and extend support to Panneerselvam. By his statements, Panneerselvam has made it clear that the battle has begun and he will fight till the end.

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