Tamil Nadu’s political potboiler is expected to see an action-packed Thursday as acting governor C Vidyasagar Rao arrives in Chennai in the middle of a bitter fight between AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala for control of the party.
Panneerselvam has alleged Sasikala forced him to resign as CM and ordered a judicial probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
As counter, Sasikala has paraded the party’s 134 MLAs in front of the media and packed them off to a hotel to thwart any attempts at poaching.
Here are five developments expected in the saga on Thursday:
1. The governor arrives in the afternoon and is scheduled to meet both Pannerselvam and Sasikala. Meanwhile, AIADMK MLAs, locked up in a luxury resort near Chennai will be paraded before Rao. Sasikala is expected to formally stake claim to form the government.
2. Panneerselvam, asked to continue as CM till alternate arrangements are made, will seek an interview with governor and ask for time to prove his majority on the floor of the house. OPS claims he has the support, which is growing. Of keen interest will be to see who will the governor meet first – the caretaker chief minister Panneerselvam or newly elected AIADMK legislative party leader Sasikala?
3. Students in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli are planning a protest in support of Panneerselvam. People are also expected to join in the protests, similar to the massive demonstrations last month in support of Jallikattu.
4. War in AIADMK will escalate as Panneerselvam moves to block party funds. He has written to the Bank of India manager not to entertain anyone asking to withdraw money from the party account without his consent. He has insisted that he is still the party treasurer as Sasikala’s appointment was illegal and therefore, she had no power to sack him.
5. Opposition DMK is in a wait-and-watch mode and might want a floor test. The DMK hopes the governor will factor in people’s sentiments and also an anticipated Supreme Court verdict in a disproportionate assets case before taking a decision on Sasikala’s claims.