Sasikala vs Panneerselvam: A-G Mukul Rohatgi advises floor test at TN Assembly in one week

Chennai: The political drama in Tamil Nadu may see a denouement soon, with Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi advising governor C Vidyasar Rao to convene the Assembly within a week for a floor test to decide the fate of AIADMK rivals O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala.

Rohatgi tendered his opinion to governor Rao to convene a special session of the Assembly for a composite test to determine who between the two warring leaders enjoys a majority.

VK Sasikala and O Panneerselvam

VK Sasikala and O Panneerselvam

In his opinion, sources said, Rohatgi 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 Attorney General 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 between the two claimants — Pal and Kalyan Singh — commanded the majority support for chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh.

The political future of Sasikala, a long-time friend of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, the late J Jayalalithaa, would, however, entirely hinge on the Supreme Court judgement in the disproportionate assets case, which has been listed for Tuesday morning at 10.30 am.

Sasikala, who was chosen as AIADMK legislature party leader on 5 February, will be rendered ineligible for contesting an Assembly election in the event of conviction, thereby stifling her ambition of becoming the chief minister. An acquittal, on the other hand, will put her on more solid footing to face the floor test.

If she is convicted in the case, in which the hugely popular Jayalalithaa is the main accused, Sasikala will have to hand pick another AIADMK leader for the top job.

Meanwhile, an embattled Sasikala, who had staked claim to form the government on 9 February, met over 100 AIADMK MLAs
lodged at a resort on Chennai's outskirts for the third time in as many days. Sasikala, also the party general secretary, has been
struggling to keep the flock of 129 MLAs supporting her together after six of them switched over to Panneerselvam's camp. Eleven MPs are also backing Pannerselvam.

Tamil Nadu has a 234-member assembly.

Amid the continuing tug-of-war between the two factions, Sasikala said she got Pannerselvam removed as chief minister as he had "hobnobbed" with the rival DMK and not declined support when offered by a leader.

"It was Panneerselvam who pushed us to do that, we did not do it on our own, and this is what happened. I would have allowed him (to continue in his post) as I did not aspire for being chief minister and that is the truth," she told party workers at Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence, where she continues to live even after her mentor's death.

Panneerselvam had alleged he was coerced into resigning by Sasikala and her supporters. He said he was ready to reconsider the decision if people of the state and party workers so desired.

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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2017 20:41:05 IST

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