Trying hard to keep her flock of MLA supporters together, AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala trashed allegations of holding them as captives at a resort on the East Coast Road in Chennai to prevent them from deserting her side.
Locked in a fierce battle of attrition with caretaker Chief Minister Panneerselvam, Ms Sasikala declared that they were all by her side of their free will. “You see for yourself how independent they (the AIADMK MLAs) are and talk freely and are sincere that there should not be any disrepute to the government,” she told journalists for the first time since Tuesday.
The power battle has intensified with the two factions trading charges. Panneerselvam claimed earlier in the day that MLAs were held there against their will and tortured and sought their release.
Five Lok Sabha members and one Rajya Sabha member earlier on Sunday deserted Sasikala's faction and joined OPS, consolidating the support for latter, taking the total count to MPs to 10.
Sasikala addressing reporters at the resort alleged that 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 the slightest impediment to AIADMK and the government,” she said.
Exuding confidence, 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.”
With Inputs from Agencies