Panneerselvam gains more support among Lok Sabha members

Chennai, Feb 12: Three more Lok Sabha AIADMK members on Sunday extended support to acting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.This has weakened the earlier unified clout the party enjoyed in the Lok Sabha as the third largest group in the house.R.P. Marutharajaa (Perambalur), B. Senguttuvan (Vellore) and Jayasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Tuticorin) visited Panneerselvam at his residence here."We expect six more MLAs to join us," an AIADMK leader told IANS preferring anonymity.With three MPs expressing their support to Panneerselvam, the total number of Lok Sabha members in Pannerselvam's camp has gone up to seven. A Rajya Sabha member is also backing the Chief Minister.The AIADMK has 37 members in Lok Sabha. Until recently, all of them were with AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala.On Saturday, four Lok Sabha members - V. Sathyabama (Tirupur), K. Ashok Kumar (Krishnagiri), P.R. Sundaram (Namakkal) and R. Vanaroja (Thiruvannamalai) - joined the Panneerselvam camp.Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan was the first to throw his lot with Panneerselvam after he revolted against Sasikala who was set to become the Chief Minister following her election as the legislature party leader of the AIADMK in the Tamil Nadu assembly.Panneerselvam and Sasikala are locked in a bitter power struggle following the December 5 death of then Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa.