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I Never Met Jayalalithaa In Hospital, Says O Panneerselvam

In his first public comments on Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday said he could not meet her even once during her 75 days of hospitalisation

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In his first public comments on Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday (February 08) said he could not meet her even once during her 75 days of hospitalisation.

He also said that no political leader could meet her in the Apollo Hospitals where she died on December 5.

"For 75 days I went to the hospital. But I could not meet her even once. Even my family members used to ask me every day whether I met Amma. At one stage, I even thought of lying that I had met her. But I did not do so," Panneerselvam told a Tamil TV channel.

Panneer, who was allocated the portfolios held by Jayalalithaa during her hospitalisation, said he explained to his family that visitors were not allowed since she was in the intensive care unit and there was a possibility of infection.

"We were informed that Amma was recovering. We were confident. When we came to know that Amma has passed away, we felt we have lost all our powers," he said.

Replying to a question whether anyone other than Sasikala met Jayalalithaa, he said: "I do not have information about any political leader meeting her. Only the Governor went inside twice. I neither saw nor heard of any other leader meeting her."

His comments assume significance as a host of leaders including BJP president Amit Shah, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Chief Ministers of neighbouring states had visited the Apollo Hospitals during Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation.

On whether Jayalalithaa wanted to meet him since he was a loyalist or he took any effort to visit her, the senior AIADMK leader said he tried several times. "But thought may be I was unfortunate and a sinner not to have seen her in the hospital."

To a question on recent resignation of some key state officials in the Chief Minister's office, he said there was no compulsion from him and it was a decision taken by them on their own.

Meanwhile, Pannerselvam has dismissed AIADMK general secretary Sasikala's charge that DMK was behind his revolt against the party leadership and said she has no powers to sack him as treasurer.

"She should be asked to explain the basis of her charge.  I was never cordial with DMK. A look back into the history will make it clear," he told Tamil TV channels after his last night's sudden revolt.

As the political drama unfolded, security at the Greenways Road residence of Panneerselvam was stepped up even as scores of supporters started thronging the area.

AIADMK MLAs, meanwhile, are meeting at the party headquarters to discuss the situation arising out of Panneerselvam's outburst.

"There is no relationship at all between me and the DMK. Its only the human approach to reciprocate when some one smiles at you. That is the difference between animals and humans," he said.

He was apparently referring to Sasikala last night pointing to the exchange of pleasantries between him and DMK working president M K Stalin, the leader of the opposition in the Assembly, during the recent session.

He also stuck to his charge that he was forced to resign from the post of Chief Minister, but declined to answer a question whether he would stake claim with the Governor to continue, saying "Just wait and watch."

"I don't want to go into it. I had already explained in detail at Amma's (Jayalalithaa) memorial the circumstances under which I was forced to resign," he said.

Elaborating on his contention that Sasikala had no powers to sack him from the party post, Panneerselvam said already there were legal problems facing the party.

He said general secretary was elected on a temporary basis in view of the extraordinary situation faced by the party (after Jayalalithaa's demise).

"This is the party's norm. As per the party's constitution framed by founder M G Ramachandran at the time floating the AIADMK, legal sanction for the post will come only when all primary members elect the general secretary.

Such a general secretary alone has the powers to appoint or remove party functionaries," he said.

On strong attack against him by AIADMK leaders, including his cabinet colleagues, Panneerselvam said it was a 'compulsion of time.'

"They can only speak like that when they are there (with Sasikala). They are in a state of mind of retaining their office for the next four years. They should act keeping in mind that they have to go back to the people," he said.

On the charge that he had betrayed the party high command, the senior leader said he resigned when he was forced only because he did not want the charge to fall on him.

Asked about allegations levelled against him by some of his opponents that BJP was behind him, Pannerselvam said, "They (his opponent) don't have any strong ground against me.

They can't level any allegation against me."

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o panneerselvam V K Sasikala tamil nadu aiadmk