Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday dismissed as rumours reports that he was going to quit the AIADMK and join the BJP, asserting he will continue in the ruling party in the state till his last breath. Slamming a section of media for carrying the reports, he said people of Tamil Nadu who have faith on him as well as the party workers will not pay heed to such rumours.

Such reports were the result of “fear factor” among those who dreaded the AIADMK-led NDA’s impending ‘grand’ victory in the Lok Sabha polls, the AIADMK coordinator said in a party statement.

“Those who fear the grand victory that this alliance (led by AIADMK) is going to achieve are spreading rumours and trying to hurt my public life which is regrettable,” he said.

Panneerselvam recalled his humble origin as the son of a farmer and the various strides he had made in his political career and credited late chief minister J Jayalalithaa for his rise.

The AIADMK leader said he and his family will be ever indebted to Jayalalithaa.

Striking an emotional chord, the leader said he yearned that the AIADMK flag should be wrapped around him after his breathed his last.

“I regret the fact that even neutral media are playing to the gallery of somebody saying I am going to switch parties,” he said.

Those who plan to malign some one’s hard work, pride and dignity through false reports will be given a fitting reply by “the power of people as well as the divine force I worship,” he added.

Panneerselvam, a loyalist of Jayalalithaa and a former chief minister himself, claimed such reports were being carried with malicious intent.

Recalling Jayalalithaa’s past ties with the BJP both in 1998 and 2004, he said the then alliance was forged by the late AIADMK supremo due to common ideology (between the two parties) such as “patriotism and belief in God”.

Jayalalithaa had played a key role in making A B Vajpayee the prime minister and late Abdul Kalam as President later, he noted.

Even the present AIADMK-led NDA in the state which includes the BJP, DMDK and PMK among others was firmed up in line with the path laid down by Jayalalithaa, he said.

Recalling the ‘bonhomie’ between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaya, he said despite political differences she had greeted the former after his victory in 2014 and also helped the NDA government in the Rajya Sabha on several issues.

Similarly, Modi had also attended Jayalalithaa’s swearing-in ceremony as chief minister in 2011, he said.

Panneerselvam had rebelled against then AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala after the demise of Jayalalithaa in 2016. However, he had merged his faction with the group led by K Palaniswami, who also turned against Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, leading to their ouster later.