Chennai, Feb 17: Tamil Nadu’s ousted chief minister O Panneerselvam appealed the AIADMK MLAs to vote against their newly appointed legislature party leader Edappadi Palaniswami. Panneerselvam invoked the legacy of Jayalalithaa, saying that the vote of MLAs in favour of Sasikala’s nominee would ‘destroy the sacrifices made by Amma’.

Panneerselvam warned the legislators of allowing Palaniswami to takeover the government, claiming that his regime would be controlled by Sasikala’s family. “Amma continuously worked to see that family rule doesn’t enter Tamil politics. Till her last breath, she worked to achieve this goal,” the AIADMK rebel said.

“I reiterate to AIADMK MLAs, please think wisely before casting your vote tomorrow. Don’t buckle under pressure,” Panneerselvam said, adding that faith in democracy would only be restored if the MLAs reject the tactics of force and coercion being used by Sasikala’s family.

“Please vote against the trust vote and safeguard the interests of Amma. Her legacy is at stake. Your incorrect vote could tarnish the AIADMK forever,” he added.

Further attacking Sasikala’s family in a veiled manner, Panneerselvam said, “Amma sacrificed her entire life for AIADMK. Someone else wants to hijack her hard work and legacy. You (the AIADMK MLAs) have to safeguard the sacrifices made by Amma. We have to fight that one family which wants to take over party.”

The floor test in Tamil Nadu assembly would be conducted tomorrow. The strength of legislative assembly was reduced to 233 following the death of Jayalalithaa. For the floor test, DMK Patriarch Karunanidhi is expected to remain absent due to ill health. The Speaker of the House would also not be participating in the vote of confidence. The effective strength of the House, during the trust vote, would be reduced to 231.

Sasikala camp needs the support of 116 MLAs to win the trust vote. Palaniswami claims support of at least 124 legislators of AIADMK.

DMK’s working president MK Stalin announced that all 89 MLAs of his party would be voting against Palaniswami in the floor test. “The people of Tamil Nadu have been affected by the non-performance of AIADMK government. There is no question of supporting Palaniswami,” Stalin said.

However, DMK’s ally Congress is still undecided whether they would support AIADMK during the floor test. Congress MLAs are expected take the final call at 9 AM in the morning, couple of hours before the floor test which would be conducted in the assembly.