Sasikala wraps up emergency meeting, says no rift within AIADMK

One who can protect the interest of the state should become the Chief Minister... Earlier, she had said she would announce her decision whether to join AIADMK or float her own party on that day. They added, "After Jayalalithaa's death the party continues to stand united".

Panneerselvam visited the memorial on Marina beach and sat on the floor cross legged and meditated with closed eyes for more than 30 minutes. I said I would go to Amma's memorial and tell her that I was resigning.

Supporters of Mr Panneerselvam gathered outside his official residence at Greams Road and thanked him for "listening to his conscience and heeding to the call of the soul of Amma". "Though I expressed my dilemma to Sasikala about the behaviour of the Ministers, she asked me to ignore it and concentrate on my work".

After spending almost 40 minutes meditating in front of the late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa's memorial at around 9 pm on Tuesday, he said, "I was forced to resign from the Chief Minister's post". The decision to sack Panneerselvam was taken at an emergency meeting called by Sasikala late on Tuesday night.

Sasikala is the second accused, and next to late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in the case. In the last assembly elections, it is widely believed that Sasikala helped an ailing Jayalalithaa choose the party's candidates.

Hinting at foul play, the senior Pandian said there should be a probe to find out what led to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa in September. Sasikala is expected to meet him to formally present herself as the rightful new Chief Minister with signatures of legislators as evidence of their approval.

"I will be ready to fight even alone", Mr. Panneerselvam, a loyalist of Ms. Jayalalithaa said, after sitting in silent prayer at her memorial for almost 45 minutes. I told them it's a great insult to me.

Fathima Beevi, the first woman judge of the Supreme Court, invoked Article 164 of the Constitution, which allows a non-member of the state Legislature to become the Chief Minister. Doctors who treated her had told a press conference here yesterday that the AIADMK leader had been treated for septicemia and a host of other medical problems.

On being asked whether she thought the Governor was not holding her swearing-in ceremony because of a conspiracy, Sasikala said, "Your thoughts are my thoughts". "Pandian was a party hopper having jumped from AIADMK to the DMK and back to the AIADMK to suit his convenience", said Sengottaiyan.

  • Ernesto Newman