The governor meets the Sasikala and Panneerselvam teams. Decision expected

Governor of Tamil Nadu C Vidyasagar Rao met with E Palanisamy and O Panneerselvam on Wednesday.

Strong points

  • Sasikala’s choice E Palanisamy met the governor first
  • Acting Chief Minister Panneerselvam went next
  • Governor will not release decision tonight: sources


Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao heard competing arguments within the ruling Tamil Nadu party on Wednesday evening over who should be the chief minister. However, sources said he would not immediately disclose a decision on which AIADMK faction should attempt to prove that its leader should be head of government.

The governor first met with E Palaniswami, who sought the support of 125 lawmakers or state deputies. Next was O Panneerselvam, currently acting chief minister, who says he has 11 MPs. The two want to vote of confidence in the Legislature and have presented the governor with a list of lawmakers who support them.

Although numerically they are very unequal, both sides have shown equal competence in drama and political silliness and the ability to channel the wishes of J Jayalalithaa, the authoritarian matriarch of the party, who then passed away two months ago. that she was chief minister.

AIADMK has 134 of the 234 lawmakers in Tamil Nadu. The considerably larger faction is led by VK Sasikala, who was jailed in Bengaluru on Wednesday serving a four-year sentence for corruption. The sentence, handed down on Tuesday, eliminates her candidacy for chief minister, a campaign centered on her close relationship with Ms. Jayalalithaa, with whom she has lived for more than two decades. In her place, she chose Mr. Palaniswami as the alleged Chief Minister of AIADMK.

Members of this group accuse the governor of “undue delay” and AIADMK has launched an online campaign asking the public to complain in writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the postponement of a decision, which they say , gives Mr. Panneerselvam the opportunity to shake up their team, which is sequestered in a complex to avoid defection.

Although Mr. Panneerselvam’s head count is minimal, it would be unwise to dismiss him as a night operator in this crisis, not least because public opinion has so far rallied to him.

There is also the fact that he is acting chief minister, which some experts say gives him enough power that his own claim to vote in trust cannot be dismissed without consideration.

He was appointed chief minister within hours of Ms Jayalalithaa’s death – a promotion that deserved little ado because it treated him like a stunt, twice choosing him to replace her when corruption cases loomed large. ‘urged them to take a break.

Much of his appeal was his utter and abject devotion to her – he sobbed the times he was sworn in as Chief Minister while he was alive, carried his picture in his chest pocket every day and refused. to occupy a chair or a desk. normally used by her.

Two Sundays ago, AIADMK met and decided that Mr. Panneerselvam, always like a bridesmaid, would be replaced as head of government by Ms. Sasikala. He sent his resignation to the governor, who asked him to take the charge on an interim basis, presumably until Ms Sasikala was sworn in. Then Mr. Pannerselvam became a thug. At the Jayalalithaa memorial on a beach in Chennai, he announced that he was planning to go nowhere.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who is the center’s main lawyer, told NDTV on Tuesday that if the governor found there were competing claims within the same party, he should request a composite floor test – which means than the 234 lawmakers in Tamil Nadu would. must sign their names and vote for one or the other candidate – Mr. Panneerselvam or Mr. Palaniswami.

Although Mr Panneerselvam said he resigned under pressure, experts say his resignation letter cannot be withdrawn.

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