In Chennai twilight zone, all eyes on Governor and who is with who

Panneerselvam camp was confident of backing from a majority of AIADMK’s 134 MLAs while Members of V K Sasikala camp were silent, as they scrambled to rescue the party from an imminent split.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: February 8, 2017 6:33 pm
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NOTHING ILLUSTRATES the uncertainty and power vacuum in Chennai better than the fact that when acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam reached the Jayalalithaa Memorial at Marina beach on Tuesday night, the city police were taken by surprise.

Read| O Panneerselvam says he was forced to resign as Tamil Nadu CM, Sasikala calls urgent cabinet meet

And as Tamil Nadu entered a political twilight zone near midnight, the big question doing the rounds was this: what next?

WATCH | All Out War In AIADMK, Sasikala Natarajan Hits Back At O Panneerselvam

Read | O Panneerselvam sacked as AIADMK treasurer after rebellion against Sasikala

The Panneerselvam camp was confident of backing from a majority of the AIADMK’s 134 MLAs and claimed that at least 20 had already conveyed their support. Members of the V K Sasikala camp were silent, as they scrambled to rescue the party from an imminent split.

While Law Minister C V Shanmugham was the first big name to reach Panneerselvam’s house, Sasikala, who was all set to be sworn in as Chief Minister this week, summoned a majority of the ministers to her Poes Garden residence

Sources in the assembly said there may be two options left before Governor C Vidyasagar Rao: allow Panneerselvam to withdraw his resignation and go for a vote of confidence or summon all party MLAs to Raj Bhawan and ascertain the majority view.

“We are trying to figure out the legal hurdles to the process of withdrawing the resignation since Panneerselvam had himself proposed the name of Sasikala for the legislature party leader’s post,” said sources.

WATCH VIDEO | O. Panneerselvam: 10 Things You Need To Know

However, a senior jurist said, “If the Centre is favourable to such a move, the Governor will return the resignation considering the extraordinary situation. There will be a vote of confidence in which the Panneerselvam will have to prove his majority with at least 118 MLAs for a three-fourth majority.”

Sources said the BJP is likely to grab the opportunity and retain a “favourable” chief minister as the party is convinced that Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan has struck a deal with the Congress.

“Almost all ministers are with the Sasikala camp now. But the situation is expected to change by tomorrow morning, and a majority of ministers and MLAs may support Panneerselvam, considering the public sentiment,” said a senior Intelligence official.

“Technically, we still consider Panneerselvam as Chief Minister. Still, we have to be careful as any move seen as biased will backfire,” he said.

WATCH VIDEO | 5 Lesser Known Facts About Sasikala Natarajan

At the ground level, district functionaries of the AIADMK in Sivaganga, Madurai, Coimbatore and Theni said they would burn effigies of Sasikala Wednesday as a mark of protest. “We have already placed orders for digital banners of OPS (Panneerselvam). We will remove all posters of Sasikala, and erect OPS banners and posters tomorrow,” said a leader. All digital printing presses in these districts will be running through the night to print the posters, he said.

Intelligence and party sources said a majority of MLAs and ministers have no other option but to support Panneerselvam, considering the public mood. Late at night, rebel leaders, including K P Munusamy, were among those who reached Pannerselvam’s house to congratulate him for his “daring decision” to take on Sasikala.

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  1. R
    ranga
    Feb 8, 2017 at 3:13 am
    We have 4 more years - 48 months; Each minister could the CM and one other minister as Deputy CM for a month; and thus 96 people could act to see who would fill in the post more efficiently. This way we have the party intact; every body gets a chance to prove oneself. Public also could decide whose one month Tamil Nadu prospered well. All senior ADMK members should feel happy that they get a chance to administer the sate
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    1. M
      Manu USA
      Feb 8, 2017 at 9:09 am
      Sasikala be arrested. She is corrupt.
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      1. S
        S Shivalingham
        Feb 8, 2017 at 7:36 pm
        b j p is not evil at all. converts are the problem
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        1. M
          madan gupta
          Feb 8, 2017 at 1:51 am
          this is a conspiracy by Congress through DMK to destabilize the state.
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          1. N
            nikki
            Feb 8, 2017 at 10:44 am
            Biggest evil is BJP, Tamil People are peace loving, please dont spoil the peace. BJP will not gain any thing, People of tamil nadu dont subscribe to a Hindi Party. dont waste your time, Please send Honorable Governor to solve the Problem, Politics is later.
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