Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has been asked to seek vote of confidence tomorrow in the state assembly. This is going to be a huge test for the new chief minister of the state who has been forced to fill in the place of Sasikala Natarajan as she is heeling her heels behind high prison walls after being convicted by the Supreme Court in the corruption case.
In the meantime O Panneerselvam hasn’t given up hope of occupying the chief minister’s post once again. Despite not being able to attract more than 8 MLAs in more than a week’s time after being the chief minister, Panneerselvam should have hung his head in shame and resigning himself to the fate. Nonetheless the lure of power is too powerful to give up that easily.
There is no doubt about the fact that 63-year old Palaniswami enjoys the support of the majority. While he needs the support of 117 legislators to continue in the post, he already enjoys the support of around 124 MLAs in the assembly. The best part about the trust vote is that Sasikala Natarajan faction of the AIADMK party has the support of 124 legislators, including the Speaker. On the contrary, Panneerselvan enjoys the support of only 11 legislators.
As far as the number game goes, Panneerselvam faction has no hope as DMK with 89 members, Congress – eight, Indian Union Muslim League with one cannot come to his rescue. Tamil Nadu assembly has a total strength of 234 of which one seat is vacant.
On the other hand, a week after he was sacked from the AIADMK, former party Presidium Chairman E. Madhusudanan on Friday in turn “dismissed” General Secretary V.K. Sasikala, Chief Minister Palaniswami Deputy General Secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran, Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M.Thambidurai, A. Navaneethakrishnan, Thangamani, N.Dalavai Sundaram, Valarmathi, R.B. Udhayakumar, C.Ve. Shanmugam and S. Venkatesh — from the party’s primary membership.
It should be kept in mind that for around two weeks, 120 MLAs are being kept at a five star resort some 90 km from Chennai and Panneerselvam hopes to get some votes from those legislators. Tamil Nadu latest news suggest that after holding hectic discussions at Panneerselvam’s residence on Friday morning, a small group of AIADMK leaders met the Speaker in the Secretariat and demanded secret ballot.
Chief Minister Palaniswamy, who is the long-time confidante of Sasikala and Jayalalithaa said, “The party whip has to take orders from the leader before issuing any whip on the way in which legislators are to vote. In AIADMK’s case the appointment of Sasikala as General Secretary is under dispute and also the appointments made by her. So that question would have to be decided before any legislator can be disqualified”. Sasikala had recently dismissed Panneerselvam and former Minister K. Pandiarajan from the primary membership of the party and both are outside the purview of the anti-defection law.