Sasikala camp claims support of 130 MLAs

Panneerselvam also says he enjoys majority

Sasikala camp claims support of 130 MLAs

 A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam revolted against AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, her supporters claimed on Wednesday that 130 of the 134 MLAs were with her.

A source in the AIADMK said Sasikala had convened a meeting of MLAs at the party headquarters in the morning. “Of the 134 MLAs, 130 turned up to show their support to Sasikala,” the source said.

Panneerselvam, whose resignation as chief minister was accepted by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Sunday, claimed he would withdraw it if the need arose.

“I will meet the governor once he returns to the city and ask him to give me a chance to prove the majority on the floor of the House,” he said.

The big question now is whether Panneerselvam can take back his resignation. Legal experts say resignation cannot be withdrawn once the governor has accepted it.

“The law says Panneerselvam has to continue as the caretaker chief minister. However, the governor at his own discretion can direct him to prove his strength on the floor of the House,” a senior government advocate said, seeking anonymity.

Guv to return today

The governor is expected to return to Chennai on Thursday afternoon. A Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, “According to his itinerary, he will be here on Thursday afternoon”.

According to the official, the AIADMK, led by Sasikala, has already sought an appointment with the governor to stake a claim to form the government. “The governor is likely to meet AIADMK representatives tomorrow (Thursday),” he said.

Legislators ready

During the meeting, the AIADMK will hand over a letter to the governor about the unanimous resolution of MLAs electing Sasikala as the legislature party leader and nominating her for the post of chief minister. “We are waiting to give the resolution copy once the governor comes to Chennai,” Revenue Minister R B Udayakumar said.

In her address at the party headquarters, Sasikala said, “Our enemies have started showing their true colours. We will prove who we are. No one has the strength and ability to divide us.”

Sasikala said she would clear the confusion created by Panneerselvam “at the right time”. “All MLAs are like a single family and therefore, there is no problem,” she said.

Meanwhile, DMK chief M K Stalin said Sasikala was unnecessarily blaming his party after her attempt to become the chief minister through a shortcut “failed miserably”.

Rejecting her allegation that DMK was behind Panneerselvam’s revolt in the AIADMK, Stalin said his own party had not extended support to the caretaker chief minister, except to pass bills in the Assembly in the interest of people’s welfare.

Demanding severe action against those who threatened a chief minister into resigning, Stalin said the governor should order a CBI probe into the charges. He was referring to Panneerselvam’s sensational claim on Tuesday night that he had been forced to resign to make way for Sasikala.

Hailing Panneerselvam’s announcement that he would order a judicial probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge to look into Jayalalithaa’s death, Stalin said though it was delayed, his party welcomed the move.

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