Palaniswami, OPS meet Guv with claims of majority, Raj Bhavan yet to take call

Palaniswami, OPS meet Guv with claims of majority, Raj Bhavan yet to take call

All eyes were tonight on Governor C Vidyasagar Rao over the swearing-in of the new Tamil Nadu Chief Minister after Edapaddi K Palaniswami and rival O Panneerselvam met him with claims of majority support of AIADMK MLAs.

AIADMK legislature party leader Palaniswami, who had yesterday called on the Governor to stake claim for forming the government, met him again this evening, with his camp claiming support of 124 of the party's 134 MLAs. Tamil Nadu has a 234-member legislative assembly.

Panneerselvam gave a representation to the Governor claiming "majority" support and seeking an opportunity to demonstrate it. The Panneerselvam camp has alleged AIADMK MLAs were held at a resort on Chennai's outskirts against their wish.

Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, who was among those who accompanied Palaniswami, claimed the group has the support of 124 MLAs.

"We have given the Governor a list of legislators supporting our legislature party leader Palaniswami. Governor told us that our representation will be considered and we are confident that democracy will be protected," Jayakumar told reporters after the meeting.

"We have told Governor Rao that Palaniswami enjoys the support of a majority of MLAs and hence he should be invited to form the government," he said.

Governor Rao, who was on Moday advised by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to convene a special session of the Legislative Assembly within a week for holding a composite floor test, is yet to take a call on whom to invite to form the government first or to go for a trial of strength in the assembly.

The Governor had earlier kept his decision pending as the verdict in the disproportionate assets case against AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, a claimant for chief ministership, was due to be announced by the Supreme Court, which delivered it yesterday, restoring her conviction and sentence, which shattered her hopes of occupying the top seat.

While O Panneerselvam has managed to win over 10 odd MPs and some MLAs, Sasikala has been able to rally the support of an overwhelming majority of AIADMK MLAs.

Though Panneerselvam does not have the explicit support of a very large number of MLAs, he has been insisting he would prove majority on the floor of the House if asked to do so.

It remains to be seen whether the Governor goes by the AG's advice for a floor test by the two competing claimants for chief ministership or invites Palaniswami to form the government.

Before she began serving the remnant three years, 10 months and 27 days sentence in a Karnataka prison this evening, in a surprise move, Sasikala reinducted her close relatives T T V Dinkaran and S Venkatesh into the party, five years after their expulsion by AIADMK supremo and the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala appointed Dinakaran, her nephew and former Rajya Sabha member, the deputy general secretary of AIADMK, a move seen by many as an attempt to hand over the party's control to him till her return from jail.

There were rumblings in the party over Dinakaran's appointment, with senior AIADMK leader V Karuppasamy Pandian resigning as the party's organisation secretary.

An angry Pandian went to the extent of questioning Sasikala's authority of reinducting people expelled by Jayalalithaa, and asking if AIADMK was her "family property".

While re-admitting Dinakaran and Venkatesh into the party, Sasikala said the two had tendered apology for their actions.

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