Former ADMK MLA P Vetrivel has passed away on Thursday in Chennai at the age of 59 due to COVID-19, becoming one of the state known political faces to succumb to the pandemic. The deceased had been a staunch supporter of VK Sasikala and he came to light across the state after he resigned as MLA to let Jayalalithaa contest in his constituency after the party supremo was released from the prison in 2015.
According to reports, Vetrivel was admitted to Sri Ramachandra Hospital in Porur, Chennai on October 6 after he tested positive for the COVID-19 viral infection. His health had deteriorated following which he was placed under the support of the ventilator on October 9. However, despite the treatment, he had breathed his last on Thursday at the age of 59, leaving his party members to a deep shock and grief.
He was spelled critical two days back and in its official release, the hospital said Vetrivel was under intensive care unit for the COVID-19 treatment. The 59-year-old had passed away at 18.40 hrs on Thursday due to septic shock and other reasons. According to reports, Vetrivel had been serving as the treasurer of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) that has been led by TTV Dhinakaran.
The party was started as a rivalry against the ruling ADMK party. The deceased MLA was one of the close confidants of jailed leader VK Sasikala and the AMMK members expressed their grief that he had passed away without witnessing the release of VK Sasikala, who has been expected to get released by January or February 2021.
Vetrivel had entered politics by joining the Congress party and later he joined ADMK and rose to fame. In 2011, he won the ADMK ticket to contest in the RK Nagar legislative assembly constituency in Chennai and he successfully won and entered the assembly under the leadership of J Jayalalithaa. He had drawn the political spotlight in 2015 when he vacated his seat to make way for Jayalalithaa.
In 2014, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa was disqualified as an MLA after she was convicted in the disproportionate assets case by the trial court in Bangalore. In 2015, the Karnataka High Court had acquitted Jayalalithaa following which she was elected as the Chief Minister. To contest in the election, Jayalalithaa had asked Vetrivel to vacate the seat of RK Nagar and as per the leader's request, Vetrivel had vacated the seat and let Jayalalithaa contest and win the elections.
After he vacated the seat and made way for the party supremo, he was praised by the fellow party members and he went on to become one of the state-known party members. In return, Jayalalithaa had given Vetrivel the party ticket to contest in Perambur constituency in the 2016 legislative elections. He contested and won the elections and stepped inside the assembly for the second consecutive time.
Following the demise of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, the ADMK party had spitted into two factions - one headed by VK Sasikala while the other by Panneerselvam. Vetrivel had strongly supported Sasikala's faction and voiced against Panneerselvam. However, when the factions merged after Sasikala had gone to jail, Vetrivel joined TTV Dhinakaran's faction and condemned Edappadi Palaniswami for merging the faction and acting against VK Sasikala.
TTV Dhinakaran had later founded the AMMK party to rival against the ADMK and Dhinakaran had named Vetrivel as the treasurer of the AMMK party. In 2018, Vetrivel was one of the 18 MLAs to get disqualified for withdrawing the support to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. Vetrivel has been an ardent supporter of Dhinakaran and Vetrivel had contested again in Perambur in the by-elections. However, he was defeated.
For the true support of Vetrivel, Dhinakaran had called him as his soul as the deceased politician had cemented the political base by being breaking out the facts and speaking directly against the rivals. Vetrivel has been one of the emerging leaders who in multiple interviews said that the party will unite after Sasikala has got released. However, he has passed away without seeing the release of Sasikala. He has become one of the notable political faces in Tamil Nadu to die due to the COVID-19 pandemic after DMK's J Anbalagan and Congress's H Vasantha Kumar.
After hearing the news of his demise, AMMK leaders and members have been mourning his loss and remembering his works at the party. AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran said, "I'm with full of tears and learning the demise of party treasurer Vetrivel and I'm suffering with no words to console his family and party over his demise. The demise of Vetrivel is an irreplaceable loss personally for me and for the party and his name will forever remain in our path. I pray to almighty that his soul rests in peace".
கழகப்பொருளாளர் என் அருமை நண்பர் திரு. P.வெற்றிவேல் Ex.MLA மறைவு செய்தி கேட்டு கலங்கி நிற்கிறேன் – ஆறுதல் சொல்ல வார்த்தைகள் இன்றி தவிக்கிறேன்! pic.twitter.com/jJdRFCef6b— TTV Dhinakaran (@TTVDhinakaran) October 15, 2020