Apex court verdict vindicates TN governor: BJP

Party hails Rao's 'restraint', his wait-and-watch policy

Apex court verdict vindicates TN governor: BJP

After the Supreme Court convicted AIADMK leader V K Sasikala in a corruption case on Tuesday, BJP leaders hailed Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s “wait and watch” policy and the Centre’s hands-off approach to the political crisis in the southern state.

Governor Rao’s move “vindicated” his position, they contended. 

Union government sources said Governor Rao avoided  rushing for a floor test to give the warring factions of the AIADMK, led by Sasikala and caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, a chance to form the government after he consulted legal luminaries.

His decision to wait for the Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate assets case against Sasikala and two others pronounced on Tuesday, may have been seen as delaying tactics. But, it was former Tamil Nadu governor M Fathima Beevi’s decision in the case of the late J Jayalalithaa, which made Rao exercise restraint, they said.

The first woman Supreme Court judge, who went on to become the state’s governor, had allowed Jayalalithaa to be sworn in as chief minister in May 2001 though she could not contest  elections due to her conviction in a case.

Beevi was subsequently reprimanded by the apex court, which had also stripped Jayalalithaa of the chief minister’s post after an appeal was filed challenging her appointment. Beevi was removed from the constitutional post for her controversial decision by the then Vajpayee government.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav defended Vidyasagar Rao and said, “The governor must have exercised due diligence, which has turned out to be right.”

He hailed the apex court verdict, which he insisted will help “clean politics”, but termed as “most unfortunate” the charge that the Centre sided with Panneerselvam and delayed formation of the government in Tamil Nadu. Madhav clarified there was neither “interference” by the party or the government nor a bid to fish in troubled waters after Jayalalithaa’s demise.

On allegations levelled by his own party colleague Subramanian Swamy, that some Union ministers, if not the central government, were taking “undue interest” in the Tamil Nadu crisis, Madhav said it was “not true”.

Swamy, the original petitioner in the corruption case in which Jayalalithaa was the main accused, welcomed the apex court verdict although he had openly sided with Sasikala throughout.

BJP leader Muralidhar Rao tweeted, “AIADMK should now go for a leader who can chart a clean political course and deliver good governance.” The state in charge said, the “conviction of Sasikala for four years would have deep ramifications for Tamil Nadu politics,” hinting that the political turmoil in the state was far from over.

Congress wants special session
As political drama unfolded in Chennai after AIADMK chief V K Sasikala’s conviction, the Congress on Tuesday called for a special session of the Tamil Nadu Assembly to decide on the next chief minister of the state, DHNS reports from New Delhi. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala wanted Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to call a special session of the Assembly and also speak to the warring factions of the AIADMK to find a way forward.

Former home minister P Chidambaram recalled a similar situation in Uttar Pradesh when Jagadambika Pal and Kalyan Singh claimed majority in the Assembly.

If there are two claimants, the governor should seek a composite vote following the Uttar Pradesh precedent, Chidambaram said.

The Congress, which enjoys friendly ties with the DMK, was in two minds on whom to support in the factional fight in the AIADMK.

Out of power for half a century in Tamil Nadu, the Congress is eager to regain lost ground in the post-Jayalalithaa era. While state Congress chief Su Thirunavukkarasar favoured supporting the Sasikala faction, Chidambaram was keen on backing Panneerselvam.

Last week, after Sasikala staked claim to form the government in Tamil Nadu, Chidambaram had said that Sasikala would be unacceptable to most of the people in the state.

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