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Panneerselvam reaches out to Sasikala loyalists

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today made a fervent appeal to those in Sasikala's camp to go by their "conscience" in taking forward the government that was led by 'Amma' (Jayalalithaa).

Panneerselvam's appeal came within hours of the Supreme Court upholding the conviction of AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala in a disproportionate assets case trashing her hopes of becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

"Due to a few incidents, there had been a small impediment in continuance of her government. To remove this temporary impediment and to take forward the good governance of Amma, it is our duty to take steps according to our conscience," Panneerselvam said.

"This is our duty and way of showing our gratitude to her (Jayalalithaa)," he said.

Panneerselvam said the party had won last year's Assembly elections due to Amma's welfare schemes and people want those to continue, for which "all of our support is essential."

"I therefore request the ministers and MLAs to factor in the present circumstances and decide what kind of decision will ensure the party's unity and continuance of the government, and act accordingly," he said in a statement.

"Further, let us also put behind certain unsavoury incidents that had happened between us and there shall be no hesitation in ensuring everybody's due importance," the Chief Minister said.

Rivals were waiting for the party to split and if this is allowed "the souls of (AIADMK founder) M G Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa will not forgive us," he said and invited all ministers and MLAs to work together and take forward the legacy of MGR and Jayalalithaa and "keep up their pride".

Later in the day, he and 19 other senior leaders were expelled from the party's primary membership by Sasikala. Her loyalist Edappady K Palaniswami was elected the Legislature Party Leader.
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