CHENNAI: The swearing in of the Council of Ministers headed by ‘Edappadi’ K Palanisamy is not the end of the game. The contest between the factions headed by AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala and former chief minister O Panneerselvam will continue at least till the trust vote slated for Saturday is over.
Sources said the Assembly session has been convened on Saturday to complete the confidence motion exercise at the earliest to avoid any more MLA moving towards the Panneerselvam faction. The rebels too have their share of a headache since the official whip will come into play.
Since the AIADMK Whip S Rajendran belongs to the Sasikala faction, on the day the chief minister moves the confidence motion in the Assembly, a whip will be issued to all 135 MLAs to vote for Palanisamy. As OPS and Ma Foi K Pandiarajan have been expelled from the AIADMK already, the whip will not bind them. But eight other rebel MLAs, who are still members of the AIADMK, cannot disobey the whip. They cannot even abstain.
If any party MLA acts against the whip, the chief whip can lodge a formal complaint to the Speaker, following which, the member will be disqualified. A few years ago, the Supreme Court had ruled that parties should give a chance to the member to explain his case instead of going for automatic disqualification.
In the present circumstances, the party would seek clarification from the concerned member within 15 days. If the reply is not satisfactory, the member can be disqualified; or else party can ‘condone’ his act.