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Panneerselvam revolts, says he was forced out as Tamil Nadu CM

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After explosive revolt by Panneerselvam Tamil Nadu faces unprecedented crisis

"Finally she [Ms Natarajan] held my hands and asked me to obey the decision, for the party, as she did when she insisted me to take the chief minister's post", he said.

Even as O Panneerselvam and Sasikala fight it out for the chair of the chief minister of India's most politically charged state (that's saying something, considering that Uttar Pradesh elections are at the doorstep), the world can't help but take sides and poke fun at the situation.

The DMK's working president, MK Stalin, said he supported Panneerselvam and said Governor C Vidyasagar Rao should ensure a stable government in the state by allowing him to continue as chief minister. "Panneerselvam is lying to the people", Sasikala said.

He said the people of Tamil Nadu want the good rule of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa back. "Though I questioned the urgency in changing leadership, I was told by Sasikala's relations to fall in line in the interests of maintaining unity of the party", said Panneerselvam. He is conspiring with the DMK, she added.

Meanwhile, Sasikala in a strong show of strength on Wednesday morning has been successful in gaining the support of 131 MLAs and to avoid lobbying, the supporting legislators have been bussed to a secret hotel. He (OPS) is a traitor, somebody has asked him to speak like this, ' she said of OPS before whisking her MLAs away.

In an interview which lasted for almost half-an-hour and during which the 60-year-old Sasikala spoke in Tamil, which had to be translated by an interpreter for the non-Tamil-speaking audience, a lot of her views on the state's politics came to the fore.

Among their many tweets and posts criticising Sasikala and showering praise on OPS, one of the disruptive tactics these OPS supporters came up with was to post the names and phone numbers of AIADMK MLAs, urging other users to call their MLAs and register their support for OPS and their rejection of Sasikala. The Chief Minister also said that he would prove his strength in the Tamil Nadu assembly.

Never given any formal role by Jayalalitha in the party or the state government, Sasikala's role was always that of aide and confidante.

Mr Panneerselvam also said he was willing to withdraw his resignation "if people wanted". The lines are clearly drawn between the two loyal followers of the departed leader and could be a major issue for the party to manage if it has to remain together. Some senior leaders of the party including Rajya Sabha MP V. Maithreyan, and former ministers P.H. Pandian and Natham Visawanathan have extended their support to Panneerselvam.

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