Nine AIADMK Lok Sabha members back Panneerselvam

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Chennai, Feb 12 (IANS) The number of Lok Sabha members of the AIADMK supporting Tamil Nadu’s acting Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Sunday swelled to nine.

Five Lok Sabha AIADMK members on Sunday extended support to Panneerselvam, who is locked in a bitter power struggle with party General Secretary V.K. Sasikala.

This has weakened the earlier unified clout the AIADMK enjoyed in the Lok Sabha as the third largest group in the house.

S. Rajendran (Villupuram), V. Elumalai (Arani), R.P. Marutharajaa (Perambalur), B. Senguttuvan (Vellore) and Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin) visited Panneerselvam at his residence here.

“We expect six more MLAs to join us,” an AIADMK leader told IANS preferring anonymity.

With five MPs expressing their support to Panneerselvam, the total number of Lok Sabha members in Pannerselvam’s camp has gone up to nine.

On Sunday, R. Lakshmanan became the second Rajya Sabha member of the AIADMK to join the Panneerselvam camp.

It was Rajya Sabha’s V. Maintreyan who was the first to throw his lot with Panneerselvam after he revolted against Sasikala when she was set to become the Chief Minister following her election as the legislature party leader of the AIADMK in the Tamil Nadu assembly.

The AIADMK has 37 members in the Lok Sabha. Until recently, all of them were with Sasikala, a long-time confidante of the late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.

On Saturday, four Lok Sabha members – V. Sathyabama (Tirupur), K. Ashok Kumar (Krishnagiri), P.R. Sundaram (Namakkal) and R. Vanaroja (Thiruvannamalai) – joined the Panneerselvam camp.

The number of MPs supporting Panneerselvam is more than the number of state legislators (six excluding Panneerselvam) backing him.

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