As the power struggle within AIADMK intensified, party general secretary VK Sasikala on Saturday indirectly accused Governor C Vidyasagar Rao of delaying the proceedings to form the government. “The created time lag looks like it was intended to create a split in the party,” AIADMK tweeted quoting Sasikala. The party general secretary also expressed she was happy after meeting her MLAs and added that all the legislators are with her.
“We were waiting patiently till this moment for a reply from the honourable Governor,” AIADMK quoted Sasikala as saying on its official Twitter handle. “Needed measures will be taken,” she further said. Sasikala also said her party would begin a new kind of protest from tomorrow onward, adding that delaying tactics was an attempt to create divisions within the party.
Earlier in the day, Sasikala met her MLAs at the Golden Bay resort in Kuvathur where they have been allegedly corralled into, in order to prevent any horse trading ahead of a probable floor test to prove majority. However, Raj Bhavan continues to delay its decision, plunging the state into uncertainty and prompting speculation around the possibility of Central rule. On Friday, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao was said to be still weighing his options and his office said “he has not sent any report either to the Ministry of Home Affairs or to the President of India” as was being reported by some in the media.
Sasikala is currently facing a rebellion led by caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam who claims to have been forced out of office. In a House of 234 (minus the seat that has fallen vacant after the death of Jayalalithaa), the current strength of the AIADMK is 135. The Sasikala camp claims the support of 120 MLAs.
Meanwhile, Panneerselvam received a shot in the arm after party spokesperson C Ponnaiyan and later, Tirupur MP V Sathyabama joined the OPS camp on Saturday. As of now, a total of four MPs, out of 50, are with Panneerselvam. The development comes hours after Tamil Nadu Education Minister K Pandiarajan extended his support to Panneerselvam. Earlier in the day, two party MPs Ashok Kumar and PR Sundaram had also offered their support to Panneerselvam, giving a setback to VK Sasikala, who is trying to stake claim to form the government.