'Was sidelined by OPS team': MLA Arukutty switches sides to join EPS

The Kavundampalayam MLA said he had taken the decision after consulting people in his constituency.
'Was sidelined by OPS team': MLA Arukutty switches sides to join EPS
'Was sidelined by OPS team': MLA Arukutty switches sides to join EPS
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Two days after Kavundampalayam MLA Arukutty quit former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s faction, he defected to the ruling camp on Sunday. Formally switching sides, Arukutty joined Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s camp in Salem in the presence of other AIADMK (Amma) leaders including Local Administration Minister SP Velumani and Deputy Speaker Pollachi Jayaraman.

Arukutty told reporters that he had been sidelined from the OPS faction and had taken the decision to switch sides after consulting people in his constituency.

"After Amma's demise, the AIADMK split into two. I joined the OPS faction, and went to do a lot of programmes for them. We were all thinking there would be a merger. At the same time, Amma's government was functioning well. OPS recently called a meeting on how to organise a programme in Coimbatore. But I was not invited to this meeting. I decided then I will not continue to be in his faction."  

Arukutty’s defection will come as a huge blow to the OPS camp as he was one of the first legislators to join the former CM following his rebellion against AIADMK chief VK Sasikala’s leadership in February. The MLA has cited friction with the faction as the reason to quit the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma).

The MLA had earlier said that problems with Team OPS 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 distance him from the party affairs. 

The MLA has also 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 earlier claimed.

Arukutty’s decision to switch loyalties comes even as EPS showered his constituency with projects including a power substation, an industrial training institute and revenue divisional office in Kavundampalayam, reported TOI.  

Media reports suggest that EPS is attempting to woo other leaders from the OPS side, including former minister KC Palaniswami. 

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