In a blow to the O Panneerselvam-led AIADMK (Purtachi Thalaivi Amma) faction, one of its 11 MLAs has decided to leave the side. Kavundampalayam MLA Arukutty who was one of the first legislators to join the former Chief Minister’s camp, has cited friction with the faction, as the reason for his decision.
According to the MLA, the problems began when he thanked Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and other ministers in the cabinet for successfully implementing some schemes in the state. Following this, the OPS faction allegedly began to cold shoulder him.
"I was not even invited to a programme chaired by O Panneerselvam in Coimbatore, even though I was involved in organising it," says MLA Arukutty. "When I took this up with the seniors in the party, they did not pay any heed to the issue," he adds.
The MLA stressed that his focus is on the people of his constituency. "I don't want to be involved in this friction. People have trusted and voted me to power. My primary duty is to work for their welfare," he claims.
He, however, remained non-committal on joining the Edappadi Palaniswami faction. "I will have to discuss this matter with the people of my constituency before taking a decision," he says.
Talks of a merger between the two groups are currently at a standstill with the faction led by OPS claiming that they are not ready to discuss the matter any further. Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had said that common support for NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind did not imply that the camps, including the one he heads, intended to unite. He even stated that the seven-member panel constituted by his faction to hold merger talks had been dissolved.