The Supreme Court convicted AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan on Tuesday, leading to an imminent split in the party. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was expelled from the party’s primary membership by Sasikala. The party chief was allowed a breather of a few hours after the verdict was announced and she used the time to appoint a new legislature party chief besides ousting OPS.
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OPS is slowly gaining MLAs and MPs in his camp but the process is excruciatingly slow. Meanwhile, Sasikala’s loyalist Edappadi K. Palanisamy has taken charge of the party and claims he has majority support of party MLAs that will prove enough to form a majority government. Palanisamy is likely to meet the governor with the list of supporting MLAs and the rest of the legislature party remain locked inside a resort near Chennai.
Panneerselvam had disclosed last week that Sasikala had forced her to resign from his post as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK legislature party head. Since then, a handful of MLAs and MPs have joined the OPS camp from Sasikala camp. According to a report, one MLA even escaped from the resort in disguise.
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There were rumours of detention of MLAs in the resort and the picture hasn’t cleared yet. A politically incapacitated Sasikala will now seek to run the government and the party using a proxy leader.
In all likelihood, further expulsions may be on the cards. A trust vote may clear the picture further in Tamil Nadu which has remained in a state of uncertainty and turmoil since the passing away of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa.