The seven-month-old government, headed by CM Edappadi K Palaniswamy, is faced with a crisis of survival—it’s short of at least five MLAs to prove the simple majority of 117 in the Assembly. The government is facing pressure from almost all opposition parties to step down on moral grounds.
The Main Players
The sidelined AIADMK leader launched a fresh attack on his rival E Palaniswami and vowed to “end this rule of betrayal” within a week. He also ruled out his faction having any direct or indirect pact with DMK, saying that party “is our primary rival”. The faction is resorting to legal avenues to accord more pressure on the Governor to order a floor test.
Ch Vidyasagar Rao
Pressure is mounting on the governor to order for a floor test to prove that the ruling faction has majority. As of now, the Governor is likely to land in Chennai on September 22 or 23 and scenario is likely to hot up further.
The privileges committee of the State Assembly had recently issued notices to 21 DMK MLAs on the charges that they had brought gutkha packets to the House on July 19. Sensing something fishy, the principal Opposition DMK had moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the privileges committee not to take any action against the MLAs.
There are speculations that the party wishes that this government should last at least till 2019 Lok Sabha elections where it can align with the unified AIADMK.
The CM is putting up a brave face along with his colleagues that the issue would be resolved soon. Sources say the ruling faction is trying to gain the support of at least a few more MLAs from those now with Dhinakaran. “You are keeping some MLAs promising them some allurements. Just let them off. They will straightaway come to us,” said Palaniswami while addressing a public meeting at Kancheepuram last week.
The deputy CM’s most important demand for a merger was the ouster of Sasikala. He said no one from the Sasikala family should interfere in the functioning of the AIADMK. Panneerselvam wants both Sasikala and Dhinakaran to resign from their respective party posts of general secretary and deputy general secretary. According to Panneerselvam, the war for justice would continue “till the main goal is achieved”.
What Lies Ahead
Speaker may disqualify 18 MLAs behind TTV. This may help the government led by E Palaniswami in winning the trust vote in the State Assembly.
The MLAs may move the court seeking a stay on their disqualification.
More pressure will be mounted on the Governor to a take a decision as nearly one month is about to cross after the MLAs supporting TTV withdrew their support to Palaniswami.
The DMK, which is keen on gaining political mileage in this issue, may move Supreme Court if it fails to get any direction from Madras High Court.
If at least five MLAs from TTV faction shifts their loyalties to EPS in the next few days, the present government can prove its majority and for the next six months, lead the government without any problem.
political slugfests: day by day
Dec 5, 2016: Jayalalithaa dies after prolonged illness. O Panneerselvam is swiftly sworn in as chief minister.
Dec 29: Sasikala appointed AIADMK general secretary
Feb 5, 2017: OPS resigns as CM
Feb 7: OPS revolts against Sasikala
Feb 10: More than 120 AIADMK MLAs taken to a resort apparently to prevent any defections to OPS’ camp
Feb 14: Supreme Court convicts Sasikala in DA case. K Palaniswami appointed head of AIADMK legislature party; OPS expelled from AIADMK primary membership.
Feb 16: Palaniswami sworn in CM
Feb 17: OPS camp announces expulsion of Sasikala, TTV Dinakaran and S Venkatesh from the party
Feb 18: Palaniswami wins confidence vote by 122 to 11 votes
March 8: OPS-led AIADMK faction observes fast across demanding probe into the death of Jayalalithaa
March 15: AIADMK nominates TTV as party’s candidate for the R K Nagar bypoll scheduled for April 12
March 22: EC issues an interim order freezing the ‘two leaves’ symbol
March 23: EC allots Palaniswami camp “hat” as its symbol. The faction was named AIADMK (Amma). The O Panneerselvam camp was allotted ‘electric pole’ as its symbol and named as AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma)
Apr 17: Delhi Police books Dhinakaran for allegedly trying to bribe an EC official
Apr 18: Ruling AIADMK (Amma) faction announces team to hold talks with Panneerselvam camp on a possible patch-up
Apr 25: Delhi Police arrests Dhinakaran in the bribery case
Apr 26: Banners featuring Sasikala removed from AIADMK party headquarters
May 2: ED registers a money laundering case against Dhinakaran
Aug 17: Palaniswami announces a Commission of Inquiry to go into the death of J Jayalalithaa
Aug 19: Palaniswami and Panneerselvam express confidence merger will happen soon
Aug 21: The two factions merge
Any loyal AIADMK functionary will not commit this blunder of joining hands with the DMK. If Amma (Jayalalithaa) were alive today, just imagine what kind of action she would have taken against Dhinakaran.”Chief Minister Palanisami on the indication that DMK and Dhinakaran are joining hands to bring down his government