Chennai, Feb 15: In a bid to end the ongoing stalemate over government formation in Tamil Nadu, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao reportedly invited AIADMK supremo VK Sasikala’s nominee Edappadi Palanisamy to prove his majority. Palanisamy has been asked to submit the resignations of 118 AIADMK MLAs. If Palanisamy succeeds in illustrating the support of majority, he would be allowed to takeover as the chief minister. Also Read - ‘Stop Imposing Hindi’: People in Tamil Nadu Upset After IMD Tweets Cyclone Nivar Updates in Hindi
Palanisamy also met the Governor on Tuesday, hours after Sasikala was convicted in the disproportionate assets case. As per the reports, he currently enjoys the support of 125 AIADMK MLAs. However, acting chief minister and AIADMK rebel O Panneerselvam claims that the legislators would extend him the support if a floor test is conducted in the assembly. Also Read - Cyclone Nivar: Tamil Nadu Government Announces Public Holiday In 13 Districts on November 26
According to experts, Governor could still call for a floor test, despite Palanisamy proving the numbers before him. “Governor should appoint Mr Palanisamy as the Chief Minister if he has the numbers to back him. But alternatively, a floor test also needs to be conducted as it is the most appropriate method to prove majority,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, while speaking to NDTV.
The crisis in Tamil Nadu politics erupted on February 5, when O Panneerselvam resigned from the post of chief minister. The AIADMK top brass reportedly decided to appoint party supremo Sasikala as the next CM. In his resignation letter, Panneerselvam had cited personal reasons for resigning from the post. However, the AIADMK claimed that Panneerselvam himself wanted ‘Chinnamma’ to take over, suggesting that the party supremo, as well as the chief minister, should be the same person.
Hours after Panneerselvam’s resignation, the Supreme Court confirmed that the verdict in late Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate assets case, which lists Sasikala as co-accused, would be declared within a week.
Despite facing the risk of disqualification, Sasikala camp wanted the 61-year-old to takeover as the chief minister. While the Governor was reportedly contemplating over the fallout arising from the potential verdict of disproportionate assets case, his job turned murkier following the unprecedented rebellion of O Panneerselvam.
A couple of days after resigning from his post, OPS, as he is popularly called, launched a dramatic revolt. After meditating at Jayalalithaa’s memorial for nearly 30 minutes on the evening of February 7, Panneerselvam addressed the media. He claimed that the ‘soul of Amma’ visited him and said, “Don’t give up the Chief Minister’s post”. In a series of shocking allegations, OPS claimed that he was forced to step down by Sasikala and her family members through threat and coercion.
Following the battle lines drawn by Panneerselvam, Sasikala rushed to secure her support among legislators. The AIADMK MLAs were rushed by her camp to Golden Bay resort in Kuvathur. The legislators were not allowed to interact with the media.
After nearly a week, OPS was able to gain support from only 10 AIADMK MLAs. However, reports indicated that he gained unprecedented support at the ground-level. Still being the acting chief minister, Panneerselvam, announced a series of populist steps. He promised the Jayalalithaa’s home at Poes Garden would be converted into a memorial. Striking a chord with those still aggrieved by Jayalalithaa’s death, OPS promised to conduct a high court-monitored probe to investigate Amma’s death.