Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam finally broke his silence and led an open revolt against Sasikala Natarajan, the AIADMK general secretary.
"If people are willing, I would even withdraw my resignation...I would fight to save the party and the goodwill of Jayalalithaa’s legacy," Panneerselvam said, in an address to journalists.
Panneerselvam spoke to the press in a surprise move after he spent about 40 minutes meditating at the memorial of Jayalalithaa on Marina Beach. He was accompanied by a large number of his supporters and AIADMK activists. "I have come to Amma's memorial to reveal certain truths," he said after his meditation.
The Chief Minister said he was forced to resign at a meeting at Poes Garden on Sunday. "I went to Poes Garden when the meeting of MLAs was on. They said Sasikala should take over as CM. I thought what was the need for that. I never knew about the MLAs' meeting at all. I asked why I was being humiliated like this after foisting the job I was not willing to take over?"
The AIADMK leader said he never revealed the truth behind the scenes because he didn't want the party's name or Amma's legacy to be sullied.
Earlier, he said, Ministers R B Udhayakumar, Sellur Raju and Thambidurai openly called for Sasikala to take over as CM. "When members of my Council raise a voice against me, I felt humiliated."
He said he was reluctant to don the mantle of Chief Minister. "AIADMK presidium chairman Madhusudhanan proposed my name to take over the party’s mantle after Amma’s death. But I did not accept it first. I was convinced later by Madhusudhanan to take over the mantle, he said.
Panneerselvam detailed the challenges he faced in his stint as Chief Minister since December. "I decided to work as CM to carry forward Jayalalithaa’s legacy. Then cyclonic storm Vardha came. Our work during the storm got us praise. Our work irked certain people."
"I went to Andhra Pradesh to get Krishna water for Chennai, which too got us good name. When the Jallikkattu protests happened and the youth came out to protest, I went to Delhi and lobbied with PM Modi to get an ordinance drafted for reviving jallikattu in consultation with legal experts," he said.
On social media, the Chief Minister's open revolt led to shock and applause.
#OPS the eternal night watchman has turned out to be the man of the match. Superb, clear and precise speech. Hats off to U sir.— Sreedhar Pillai (@sri50) February 7, 2017