Chennai: The BJP national secretary H. Raja, who slammed AIADMK chief V.K. Sasikala for issuing a threat, categorically denied that the BJP or its Government had any role to play in the current political crisis.
Daring Sasikala to physically prove the support of 134 MLAs (as claimed to the Governor), he alleged that TNCC chief Su. Thirunavukkarasar, had in early 1988, following the demise of MGR, arranged a similar stay of AIADMK MLAs in the Koovathur resort. Excerpts from the interview to DC here on Saturday.
Q The AIADMK has accused the BJP and the Centre of trying to block its chief V.K. Sasikala from becoming CM and attempting to destabilise. What have you to say on this?
H. Raja: Now AIADMK means Panneerselvam because all those in the party have come to him including senior leader C. Ponnaiyian. The BJP or the Centre does not have any role. When O. Panneerselvam was elected unanimously after the demise of madame J. Jayalalithaa, there was no loss of time in swearing him in as Chief Minister. But now after Mr O. Panneerselvam’s disclosure, a new situation has arisen. The CM has alleged that for two hours, he refused to resign and that he was compelled to resign. Compelled by whom - an extra constitutional authority, who is not a member of AIADMK? What about the support of MLAs to Sasikala? When a CM has been threatened, what about the support of the MLAs? So constitutionally, Governor has to satisfy himself about the majority support of the leader claiming it. So, now it has come under cloud.
She claimed that 134 MLAs have supported her. But many are with O. Panneerselvam. There should be a transparent method of testing this support.
In my opinion, the floor test alone could be a transparent way. Any other method will lead to some allegations from some other quarters. Even main opposition is in favour of floor test. Neither the party nor the (BJP) government is interfering. If at all there is involvement by outside party, it should be the Congress because since Jayalalithaa's demise, Congress state president is harbouring the illusion of becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. I got information that the ‘Golden Bay resort’ was arranged by Su. Thirunavukkarasar for one group of AIADMK MLAs’ stay then after MGR’s demise.
Q Ms. Sasikala issued a veiled threat directed at the Centre the she is on the threshold of losing her patience. She exudes confidence in democracy and justice and waited for a long time after submitting letter to the Governor. There is a limit to patience, she says.
A: Let her physically prove her support of 134 MLAs. You cannot threaten a government, you may lose your patience and we are not bothered about who loses patience or not. Haste makes waste. That is what has ruined Sasikala’s chances of even being a political leader. She somehow became the general secretary of AIADMK. She should have waited for some more time. In haste she spoiled her own prospects.
Q How do you rate the Governor’s performance?
A: Governor has adopted the right method and he is fair enough in dealing with this issue.
Q Do you think the confusion and turmoil could have been averted, had the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the wealth case?
A: The problem is that of the internal strife in the ruling party. Nobody else is responsible for this. After MGR, AIADMK had split; same thing has happened after the demise of Jayalalithaa. AIADMK cadres support even the niece of Jayalalithaa, Why? The basic question is the AIADMK cadres and voters are not in favour of Sasikala. That is the basic problem. The party wanted to anoint her as CM of Tamil Nadu. That has led to the whole crisis. It is the internal strife of the AIADMK, which has led to this muddle and mess.
Q Do you personally favour Mr. Panneerselvam?
A: No personal preference for anybody. What I can say is OPS has conducted himself well. I don't want to favour anybody. Let whoever enjoys the majority become the CM of Tamil Nadu. I have no objection.