With V K Sasikala’s conviction triggering a fresh power struggle in the AIADMK, the Congress has decided to adopt a wait and watch approach and asked Governor Vidyasagar Rao to call for a composite vote in the Assembly. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Governor should follow the Uttar Pradesh precedent.
“If there is only one claimant, the Governor can swear in the claimant and ask him to prove his majority. If there are two claimants, the Governor should call for a composite vote,” he said. In 1998, the Supreme Court had ordered a unique composite floor test in UP Assembly after two leaders, Kalyan Singh and Jagdambika Pal, claimed they had the majority.
State Congress president S Thirunavukkarasar said that in the event of a trial of strength, the party’s stand on the floor of the House would be decided in consultation with ally DMK. The Congress has eight MLAs in the House, while the DMK has 89.
Some Tamil Nadu Congress leaders, meanwhile, argued that the Congress and the DMK should back caretaker CM O Panneerselvam if he manages to secure the support of some two dozen MLAs.
The forthcoming Presidential elections appear to be weighing heavily on the mind of the Congress. “If OPS becomes the CM, then a majority of the AIADMK MLAs will flock to him…and if his government is dependent on the Congress and DMK…we can hope to secure his support in the presidential elections,” a Congress leader said.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also called for convening of a special session of the Assembly. “The role of the Governor, which has been circumspect in this entire episode, must now become clear and rule of law and Constitution must prevail. Governor must forthwith call a Special Session of the Assembly to permit the ruling party including more than one claimant, if any, to prove their majority on the floor of the House in accordance with the verdict in Bommai’s case. Why is Governor shying away from calling a special session,” he asked.
State Congress chief Thirunavukkarasar said: “Nobody has approached us.” He pointed out that DMK working president M K Stalin too had announced that his party will not support anybody with a caveat and will take an appropriate decision at the appropriate time.
“As of now we are neutral. Let the Governor act. Earlier, he delayed the decision by a week… Now he need not wait for anything,” he said, adding that Governor should consider caretaker CM O Panneerselvam’s claim.