Chennai: Amidst the intense power struggle within ruling AIADMK, the O Panneerselvam camp on Sunday got a boost with several more MPs extending support to the Chief Minister.
A total of 10 MPs, 8 from Lok Sabha and 2 from Rajya Sabha, joined Panneerselvam’s faction by Sunday afternoon. 9 MLAs are already on his side. Thus, Panneerselvam’s numbers have now swelled to 19, including himself. The AIADMK has 134 MLAs in the 235-member Tamil Nadu Assembly.
The party’s Lok Sabha MPs Jaisingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin), Senguttuvan (Vellore) and R P Marutharaja (Perambalur) extended their support to Pannerselvam earlier on Sunday.
The MPs called on Panneerselvam at his Greenways Road residence this morning and extended solidarity to him.
AIADMK MPs R Lakshmanan and S Rajendran also joined Panneerselvam later in the day. Subsequently, reports emerged that a total of 10 MPs had joined Panneerselvam.
Four AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs — P R Sundaram, K Ashok Kumar, V Sathyabama and Vanaroja — had already switched over to the Chief Minister’s camp, pledging support to him. Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan is also in the Panneerselvam camp.
AIADMK Fisheries wing Joint Secretary K A Jeyapaul, a Minister in the 2011-16 Jayalalithaa cabinet and former Erode Mayor Mallika Paramasivan also joined the Panneerselvam camp on Sunday.
On February 5, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala was elected as the party’s Legislature Leader, a step towards her elevation as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
However, two days later, Panneerselvam had raised a revolt against her, alleging he was forced to step down for her.
AIADMK has 37 MPs in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha.