Amidst the growing suspense over the pending Supreme Court verdict on VK Sasikala's involvement in the disproportionate assets case and Attorney General's advice for a floor test, here are the key highlights on how the Tamil Nadu political crisis took shape on the seventh day.
1) SC verdict to decide Sasikala's political course on Tuesday
After much wait, a bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy is likely to pronounce the judgement at 10.30 am on Tuesday on a batch of appeals, including the one filed by the Karnataka government against the high court verdict acquitting prime accused Jayalalithaa and her close aide (and now AIADMK general secretary and legislature party head) Sasikala in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case.
Prosecution lawyer tells NDTV that verdict would be given on Sasikala one way or the other.
2) Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi advises floor test
After the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's opinion was consulted on Saturday, the A-G advised Governor Vidyasagar Rao to conduct a floor test within a week. If Rao heeds his advice, this will be the first time that the two chief ministerial candidates will face a direct face-off and the numbers will determine the ultimate results.
Sources said that the opinion was sought by Rao from the Attorney General who has cited the 1998 Supreme Court judgement in the Jagdambika Pal case in which the apex court had ordered a floor test in the Assembly to determine who among the two claimants — Jagdambika Pal and Kalyan Singh — had the majority for chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh.
The opinion, the sources said, has stated that "he (Governor) should call a special session within a week's time and have a composite floor test as was ordered by the Supreme Court in the Jagdambika Pal case". The opinion on floor test was given as the two claimants are from the same party and they will be pitted against each other to determine who commands majority support in the Assembly, the sources said.
3) Sasikala visits 'detained' MLAs, will stay with them
Ahead of the verdict, Sasikala visited the five-star Golden Bay resort where many of the MLAs who are supporting her have been touted to be detained forcibly. She conducted a press meet where she broke down repeatedly while saying she was asked by people to carry on Amma's legacy. She also said that she would move out of Poes Garden soon to stay with her supporters at the resort.
The resort has been blocked to the public and the media but according to NDTV, Sasikala has denied holding lawmakers hostage in an extreme measure to check defection. According to The Times of India, the MLAs had complete freedom to move about the resort.
Earlier, MLA Mohan Guruswamy had posted a video where he is seen enjoying at the resort. In a tearful address to the 129 MLAs at the resort, Sasikala urged the legislators to help capture the secretariat for the party. She also revealed the final words that Jayalalithaa spoke to her were, "No one can destroy our party," before adding that she would sacrifice her life for the party.
4) Sasikala reveals Amma's last words
Sasikala on Monday said she had come to know of a conspiracy being hatched to divide the party after the death of the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu in December. Defying all inhibitions, a composed Sasikala told The Indian Express that she and Jayalalithaa together had seen 1,000 such ‘Panneerselvams’ so she is not scared.”
Speaking in front of a few supporters at the Poes Garden, and later at the Golden Bay resort, Sasikala was seen evoking memories of Amma's political journey in order help to garner people's sympathy towards her as the suffering loyalist.
"With the party having a cadre strength of 1.5 crore no 'komban' (person with great skills) can break the AIADMK," she told the cheering crowd.
"The party cadres are with me," she said, adding, "As long as the cadres are with me and with Amma's blessings, an AIADMK government will be in place.
5) Swamy says Governor under 'compulsion to cause delay'
BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that Governor Rao should invite Sasikala to form the next government. Swamy also clarified that considering Sasikala has the majority, constitutionally she can form the government under the Constitution's Article 191.
According to India Today, Swamy was "certain" that a few Union Ministers were interfering with the political affairs of the state of Tamil Nadu while the AIADMK is busy infighting. Following his allegation, Swamy filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking appointment of Sasikala as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
He says that even Soli Sorabjee has agreed that the governor cannot delay Sasikala's swearing-in indefinitely. Swamy also said that a constitutional breakdown in Tamil Nadu has happened because of the governor's delay in swearing in Sasikala.
However, while speaking with India Today, Sorabjee stated that "the Governor is well within his rights to defer the swearing-in for a few days particularly when the (verdict in the) disproportionate assets case, involving Sasikala, is imminent". However, Sorabjee warned against any indefinite delay as it may promote horse trading.
On the other hand, Union minister Kiren Rijiju said that considering this political crisis is an internal matter of the state, the Centre cannot do much about it.
6) Different camps vouch support for their leaders
AIADMK MP R Parthiban representing Theni district called on Panneerselvam at his residence in Chennai on Sunday evening and offered his support, taking the total number of Parliamentarians in his favour to 11. Meanwhile, a Panneerselvam supporter MP V Maithreyan also met the governor on the same day.
However, according to The Economic Times, party spokesperson Vaigai Chelvan said O Panneerselvam had the support of seven MLAs and therefore cannot prove his majority in the state Assembly in the event of a floor test.
"He says he can prove his majority based on the wrong information given by someone. The majority of the AIADMK MLAs are with Chinnamma (Sasikala) and we are ready to prove our strength (in a floor test)," he told reporters. To a question on 11 MPs switching over to the camp of Panneerselvam, Vaigai Chelvan expressed confidence that they would return to the Sasikala fold.
Two ministers, including Madurai MP R Gopalakrishnan and MLA Saravanan joined Panneerselvam's camp on Monday night. Meanwhile, there was a security breach at Kanimozhi's house where masked men who entered the house for robbery. The man, who entered the house just after Kanimozhi left for a DMK party meeting with M K Stalin, was arrested.