Panneerselvam Declares War: 7 Ways Tamil Nadu Drama Could Play Out
Here are the possible scenarios facing the Tamil Nadu political landscape.
Just as the state of Tamil Nadu was bracing itself up to see VK Sasikala take oath as the Chief Minister, a dramatic speech by caretaker CM O Panneerselvam at Jayalalithaa’s memorial has changed the landscape of TN politics.
OPS spoke in detail about how the party elected Sasikala as the General Secretary and eventually forced him to resign in order to vacate the CM’s chair for her.
This has, no doubt, sent the state into a tizzy. What’s next for Tamil Nadu?
Catch the latest developments here.
Will Tamil Nadu Be Put Under President’s Rule?
The Governor may decide to either dissolve the Assembly or may choose to declare President’s Rule.
The President’s Rule will lead to a fresh set of elections. If the AIADMK can put its house in order, it might be able to form the government again. However, AIADMK legislators don’t appear to be too keen to hold fresh elections.
Will OPS Withdraw His Resignation?
Will OPS withdraw his resignation? And if he does, will the Governor accept it – will the withdrawal be valid?
Legal experts say that it is unlikely his resignation can be reversed now, but if Panneerselvam says he resigned under duress, the Governor may ascertain if he enjoys a majority in the house.
Owing to the unusual political circumstances in the state, if the Governor does accept OPS’s withdrawal, then OPS will return as the CM.
What Can Sasikala Do?
There is also the question of how Sasikala will react.
There are two broad possibilities. One, she decides to fight it out with OPS, paving way for an all-out political tussle in the state. Two, she decides to bide her time, attempting to seek sympathy by going along with OPS as the CM.
This, however, seems unlikely now that he has been suspended from his party post.
How Many MLAs Does OPS Need to Stake Claim?
A Chief Minister requires 117 MLAs to command a majority. After former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death, 233 members remain in the present House.
If Sasikala decides to fight OPS, she will have to prove that she has more support on the floor of the House. The floor test will then decide the future political course of the state.
Therefore, it will all come down to the numbers. Whoever has more support from the MLAs is more likely to get their way.
Given that Sasikala’s popularity is abysmally low, and OPS has emerged as some kind of a hero, MLAs are likely to see the writing on the wall and move to support OPS, if not for the betterment of the state, then for their own job security. No one in AIADMK would want an election now.
What Happens to the Current Government?
Since the Governor has asked the present O Panneerselvam Cabinet to continue till an alternative is put in place, the present government remains functioning.
There is also a possibility that the governor stalls a clear decision till the Supreme Court ruling on Sasikala’s disproportionate assets case is out.
If Sasikala is convicted, it will bar her from taking over the Chief Minister’s post.
Can Sasikala Expel Panneerselvam From the Party?
Being the party’s General Secretary, she can do that. However, Panneerselvam is the caretaker Chief Minister until a new one is inducted.
Can the Anti-Defection Law Come in?
A legislature party can’t split under the current Anti-Defection law, although two-thirds of a party can merge with another party. Since the AIADMK has 135 members, it will require at least 90 members to take a step.
With his speech, OPS has emerged some kind of hero, as compared to Sasikala, who draws mixed reactions among the voters. MLAs are likely to support OPS for their own job security, if not for the good of the state. No one in the AIADMK would want an election now.
The long-term picture: OPS takes over the party and remains the CM. Will Sasikala be able to stop him from doing that? Only time will tell.
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