Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam got the support of five more AIADMK MPs on Sunday as the number of parliamentarians in his favour increased to ten. Four Lok Sabha MPs -- Jaisingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin), Senguttuvan (Vellore), R P Marutharaja (Perambalur) and S Rajendran (Villupuram) met Panneerselvam at his Greenways residence and extended support to him on Sunday morning.
Rajya Sabha MP R Lakshmanan also switched over to Panneerselvam camp, giving a morale boost to the Chief Minister who has raised a banner of revolt against AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala. AIADMK has 37 Lok Sabha MPs and 13 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Meanwhile, in a related development Sasikala "relieved" Lakshmanan from the post of district secretary Villupuram(North) and replaced him with Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam. Following Panneerselvam's rebellion, AIADMK Rajya SabhaMP V Maitreyan was the first Parliamentarian to extend supportto him.
AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs P R Sundaram, K Ashok Kumar, V Sathyabama and Vanaroja switched over to Panneerselvam's camp on Saturday, pledging their support to him. Panneerselvam also enjoys the support of six AIADMK MLAs,including himself.
The party has 135 MLAs in the 235-member Tamil Nadu Assembly including one nominated. Former MLAs Bader Sayeed and Muthuselvi also extendedtheir support to Panneerselvam on Sunday.
Meanwhile, actors and star campaigners, including staunch Jayalalithaa loyalists Ramarajan and Thiyagu besides actor-director and former MLA Arunpandian joined the Panneerselvam camp on Sunday.
They called on Panneerselvam at his residence and expressed solidarity with him. Actor Ramarajan said though Panneerselvam is fondly called "OPS", it also refers to "Oyvillamal Poruppaga Sevai Seibavar" (a person who tirelessly works for the welfare of people).