A group of AIADMK MPs may be knocking on the wrong door when they call on President Pranab Mukherjee to plead with him to help resolve Tamil Nadu’s political crisis.
The state has been witnessing a tug of war for the chief minister’s post over the past three days after O Panneerselvam, who vacated the position for VK Sasikala, changed his mind and revolted against the senior party leader. Since then both factions have laid claim to the legacy of J Jayalalithaa, who died in December last year leaving a political vacuum in the state.
“The President has little role to play now. The ball is actually in the governor’s court,” said TK Vishwanathan, constitutional adviser to the President.
The MPs, who sought an appointment two days ago, are expected to ask the President for an early intervention as they allege that governor C Vidyasagar Rao was delaying the swearing-in ceremony of Sasikala. But Mukherjee has no role to play in resolving this crisis, as sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan said neither the governor nor the Union home ministry had referred the issue to him.
“There is also no issue, as on date, to impose a President’s rule in the state. There is a caretaker CM and the AIADMK has a majority strength in the House. If there is an issue about imposing article 356, then, of course, the President will get involved,” said an official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Vishwanathan, a former secretary general of Lok Sabha and ex-union law secretary, indicated that the President may not have consulted any legal or constitutional experts on this issue.
On Thursday, governor Rao met both Panneerselvam and Sasikala separately at the Raj Bhavan, where the latter staked claim to form the government, handing over a list of 130 MLAs.
The acting chief minister, meanwhile, is said to have given a situation report besides alleging that the MLAs were held captive. “Dharma will win,” Panneerselvam told reporters after the meeting.
It is up to the governor now, who could take time to study the issue in depth, consult legal and constitutional experts and wait for the Supreme Court verdict on a disproportionate assets case in which Sasikala is an accused.