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129 MLAs Should Be Released, Allowed To Meet People, Says O Panneerselvam

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has said the 129 MLAs, staying in a private resort near Chennai, should be released and they should meet people in their respective constituencies to get a sense of the public mood

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has said the 129 MLAs, staying in a private resort near Chennai, should be released and they should meet people in their respective constituencies to get a sense of the public mood.

He said the legislators should be released from the resort and allowed to meet the people in their respective constituencies.

Panneerselvam also alleged that by shedding crocodile tears, Sasikala kept the MLAs on her side.

"Let her release that they can go to their respective consitutencies and meet the people and take a good decision," he told reporters.

Stressing that the Tamil people were well aware of the current political scenario, he said, "Not only in India, people across the globe are monitoring the situation."

Noting that he was working as per his conscience, Panneerselvam said he did not invite any of his Cabinet colleagues when he had gone to meditate at Amma's (Jayalalithaa) memorial last week after which he said he was forced to quit from the Chief Minister's post.

Asserting that he was always a staunch loyalist of Jayalalithaa, Panneerselvam said, "In the last 20 years not even once has Amma criticised me."

On whether the administration had come to a standstill due to the ongoing crisis, he said it was not true as he has been meeting government officials everyday.

"Every day I am in touch with the officials. Day before yesterday, the Chief Secretary and DGP met me and we discussed several issues. Tomorrow, I'm going to the Secretariat," he said.

He said Deepak and Deepa, the niece of late leader J Jayalalithaa, were the only blood relations of Jayalalithaa.

"When Amma's mortal remains were in the hospital on the night of December 5, she was not allowed to pay her respects even at that time," he alleged.

To a query on the assets of Jayalalithaa, he recalled it was her wish that all her assets go to the party.

On a query as to how confident he was about forming the government, he said, "When the Assembly convenes, I will prove my majority there."

On the press conference addressed by AIADMK chief Sasikala, he asked why she did not meet the press when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised and why was she speaking to reporters now.

Meanwhile, struggling to keep her flock of MLAs together after desertion by 10 MPs to rival Panneerselvam camp, Sasikala has trashed allegation they have been held "hostage" at a resort.

Sasikala, who is locked in a fierce battle of attrition with caretaker Chief Minister Panneerselvam, said the MLAs were staying at the resort near here of their own accord and that they were "free".

Addressing reporters at the resort, Sasikala alleged the MLAs have been receiving threats that their children will be abducted, but undeterred, they have chosen to stay there and asked their relatives to take care of them.

"It shows their dedication to this movement. I was moved.. they (all the MLAs) are keen that there should not be slightest impediment to AIADMK and the government," she said.

Alleging that those who had defected and political rivals were "spreading falsehood" that the MLAs were being held hostage, the AIADMK chief insisted that neither their free movement nor their freedom of expression had been hindered and asked the journalists to "see it for yourselves."

"They are in touch with their families over phone", she said.

Addressing the MLAs at the resort, which she visited for the second time in two days, Sasikala said,"You 129 MLAs are like an ocean. None can contain it by building a check dam. No efforts will destabilise this government. None can hurt us and there is no need to fear."

Sasikala, who had earlier in the day observed that it was "very difficult" to be a woman in politics, said there were efforts to "intimidate" her as she was a woman, but asserted she would not be cowed down.

The AIADMK supremo turned misty-eyed while referring to her mentor and former Chief Minister the late J Jayalalithaa and vowed to protect the party nurtured by her long-time friend, saying "I will give my life for this cause".


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