Ex-CM Panneerselvam supporters quit his faction, call for unity in AIADMK

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Chennai, Jun 8 (PTI) Two supporters of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and ousted AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam, announced they were quitting his faction on Saturday, and faulted him for "choosing a wrong path." They teamed up with a former AIADMK leader K C Palanisami and appealed to the AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami and Panneerselvam to merge their factions and strive for the united AIADMK's victory in the 2026 Assembly election.

Former Villivakkam legislator J C D Prabhakar, a key aide of Panneerselvam, and another supporter V Pugazhendhi, said they have decided to quit the AIADMK Workers' Rights Retrieval Committee launched by Panneerselvam. Along with K C Palanisami, they would start a coordination committee to unite the AIADMK factions, they said while addressing a joint press conference here.

"No one had the guts to criticise late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa when she was alive. Now they (the BJP) are going overboard in criticising her," Pugazhendhi said.

He asserted that there was an imperative need to retrieve the party's image and be united in order to reinstall its rule in the state. "We don't agree with the path chosen by Panneerselvam. We want the party to become a strong political force in the state," he said and appealed to Edappadi Palaniswami to reconsider his decision and amalgamate the various groups.

"Our cadres cannot tolerate defeat anymore. Edappadi Palaniswami should bring about unity without allowing his stature to come in the way," Pugazhendhi appealed.

Palanisami, a former MP, said the Lok Sabha election results landed like "a thunderbolt" on the AIADMK cadres. "Though the party has lost elections in the past, the AIADMK never saw such a major decline in its vote share as it witnessed now. The people have taught a lesson to the AIADMK to remain united," he said.

Announcing the decision to quit Panneerselvam's committee, Prabhakar said the three of them would launch a coordination committee to ensure unification among the groups. "We will attempt to speak to Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and V K Sasikala to bring about a merger as our sole objective is to unite AIADMK and make it the ruling party in the 2026 Assembly elections," he said. PTI JSP JSP SS