Highlights: Palaniswami takes oath as CM, OPS says will fight for justice
Sasikala’s nominee Edappadi Palaniswami was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu along with his cabinet after being invited by the governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to form government on Thursday. Palaniswami’s swearing in will be followed by a floor test in the coming days after ten days of AIADMK leadership tussle between party general secretary Sasikala and caretaker CM O Panneerselvam.
Palaniswami, a four-time MLA from Salem, was handpicked by Sasikala to lead the party after her conviction by the Supreme Court in a 21-year-old corruption case. The AIADMK has been battling a power tussle after Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala last week. Before leaving for Bengaluru to surrender on Wednesday, Sasikala re-inducted relatives Dinakaran and Venkatesh into the party, years after they were expelled by the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Her move was seen as a last-ditch attempt to hurt Panneerselvam, who has been expelled from the AIADMK.
Here are the highlights of the day:
9:30pm: Palaniswami visits The Golden Bay resort where AIADMK legislators have been staying for eight days.
8:45pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates E Palaniswami on becoming the Tamil Nadu chief minister.
8:30pm: At Jayalalithaa’s memorial, Panneerselvam says: “The Tamil Nadu government sworn-in today is anti people... We have taken a ‘shapath’ (vow) at Amma’s memorial to make people aware of the situation in the party and ways to bring the party out of it. We will take out rallies and campaigns in various constituencies to make people aware of the situation.”
8pm: Panneerselvam arrives at the memorial, where he first began his revolt against Sasikala’s nomination as the chief minister. He says he will fight till he gets justice, TV channels report.
7:50pm: Tamil Nadu assembly to convene on February 18, vote of confidence will take place on Saturday: AIADMK.
Now the rival camp’s leader O Panneerselvam leaves for Marina Beach to visit Jayalalithaa’s memorial.
7:40pm: Opposition leader MK Stalin congratulates the new Tamil Nadu government and says he hopes “it’ll not function under the control of VK Sasikala, warning the CM that “he should remember his oaths”: ANI
7:15pm: After the blow, MLAs supporting Panneerselvam reach the Election Commission office for a hearing. They had sent a notice to EC, challenging Sasikala’s elevation to AIADMK general secretary post on Thursday.
6:30pm: PTI quotes Panaliswami as saying he will prove majority support in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. On Wednesday, the Sasikala camp -- now led by the CM -- had claimed the support of 124 MLAs.
6:15pm: After taking over, CM Palaniswami and Sasikala’s nephew Dhinakaran pay homage to late chief minister J Jayalalithaa at her memorial in Chennai.
6pm: Clash between supporters of newly-inducted cabinet minister CV Shanmugam and O Panneerselvam, ANI reports
5:45pm: Tamil Nadu chief minister will visit Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach on Thursday evening.
5:15pm: Reports coming in say people on streets booed AIADMK legislators who were leaving The Golden Bay resort as Tamil Nadu gets its third chief minister in 9 months.
4.53pm: Sasikala loyalist KA Sengottaiyan, who was recently elevated as AIADMK presidium chairman, sworn in.
4.50pm: Chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami retains crucial finance portfolio as well as public works, highways and minor ports that he held in the previous Panneerselvam government.
4.45pm: Swearing-in of Cabinet begins.
4.43pm: Sasikala’s family occupy front row seats at Palaniswami’s swearing-in ceremony.
4.41pm: Edappadi Palaniswami takes oath as Tamil Nadu chief minister.
4.04pm: People believed to be supporters of Panneerselvam create ruckus outside state law minister CV Shanmugham’s house
3.16pm: Reports say Palaniswami to visit Jayalalithaa memorial at Marina Beach after swearing-in ceremony
3.11pm: TV reports say 30-plus ministers to be inducted into Palaniswami cabinet. Team will include Sasikala’s nephew Dinakarn and loyalist Sengottaiyan.
3.02pm: DMK working president MK Stalin warns of major horse-trading of MLAs in the 15 days leading to Palaniswami’s floor test
2.36pm: Sasikala camp MLAs being brought to Chennai for Palaniswami’s swearing-in ceremony.
2.18pm: Panneerselvam loyalist V Maitreyan reaches EC office. The OPS camp has knocked on the poll panel door to challenge Sasikala’s appointment as AIADMK general secretary
2.08pm: Pannneerselvam visits hospital where his supporter was admitted after attempting self-immolation outside the caretaker chief minister’s residence during a protest against Palaniswami.
2.05pm: Reports say PIL filed in high court to stop Palaniswami’s swearing-in.
1.50pm: After 8 days, MLAs camping at Golden Bay resort in Kuvathur leave.
1.27pm: TV reports say Sasikala’s nephew Dinakaran, thrown out of party by Jayalalithaa in 2012, to be minister in Palaniswami government.
12.54pm: Palaniswami’s swearing-in ceremony will be held at 4.30 pm, says AIADMK’s deputy speaker in the Lok Sabha Thambidurai, who described it as victory of dharmam and Amma’s ideals.
12.36pm: In a related development, AIADMK’s Dr V Maitreyan, along with other party MPs loyal O Panneerselvam, has sought a meeting with the Election Commission challenging Sasikala’s appointment as party general secretary. Meeting at 2.45 pm.
12.25pm: Palaniswami’s swearing-in expected around 4.30pm.
12:19pm: Governor says floor test will be held within 15 days.
12:15pm: Team OPS still hopes for a composite floor test.
12.09pm: TV reports say floor test likely on Monday.
11.59am: E Palaniswami to be next chief minister of Tamil Nadu, he has been invited to form government by governor Vidyasagr Rao, say sources within his team.
11.45am: Edapaddi Palaniswami most likely to get invite, may be sworn in this evening, say sources, but Raj Bhavan yet to officially confirm.
11.38am: Tamil Nadu minister Jayakumar and AIADMK leaders KA Sengottaiyan, S P Velumani,T T Dinakaran, KP Anbazhagan part of Palaniswami’s delegation to Raj Bhavan.
11.24am: Reports says Palaniswami to address media after meeting governor.
10:55am: Palaniswami supporters sure of his swearing-in, but Raj Bhavan yet to confirm if the AIADMK legislature party leader’s anointment is scheduled.
10:41am: A five-member team, including E Palaniswami and KA Sengottaiyan, leaves from Golden Bay resort to meet governor C Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan.
10:35am: Palaniswami’s swearing-in as the Tamil Nadu CM likely this evening. He has got a call from the governor. He will meet Rao at 12:30pm.
9:35am: Raj Bhavan sources tell ANI that neither Panneerselvam nor Palanisamy has been called to form the government.
Here’s what happened on a power-packed Wednesday.
Sasikala in jail
* Sasikala, a former video cassette saleswoman who became former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s most-trusted aide, travelled to Benglauru to surrender, after the Supreme Court convicted her in a two-decade-old disproportionate assets case. All her options of avoiding imprisonment for at least four weeks closed with the Supreme Court’s refusal to grant any such relief.
* Sasikala finally had no choice but to leave Veda Nilayam, No. 81, Poes Garden in Chennai, the power centre with which she was associated for over three decades, and head for the Bengaluru Central Prison to serve the four-year sentence in a corruption case.
* Around 6pm, Sasikala surrendered before the special court on the prison premises along with her sister-in-law Ilavarasi and nephew Sudhakaran, amidst heavy police bandobust.
* Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai and Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan arrived at the prison well in advance to oversee the surrender formalities.
* There was a brief period of chaos, when miscreants attacked vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration numbers. However, police rubbished suggestions that these attacks were a result of tension between the two states.
* She was visibly in a very agitated and disturbed mood and apparently, she was yet to digest the fact that she would have to be away from power and spend life in jail with a lot of disgrace.
* Draped in a red silk saree, Sasikala, along with her followers, drove to Jayalalithaa’s memorial at the Marina beach before heading for Bengaluru to pay floral tributes to the late CM.
Who will be the CM?
* Sasikala’s loyalist Edappadi K Palaniswami met governor Rao in the evening, insisting that he was elected legislature party leader unanimously and had the support of 124 MLAs.
* An hour later, caretaker M Panneerselvam drove into Raj Bhavan and told the governor that AIADMK legislators were still held “captive” at a resort near Chennai, where they were taken last week when the political crisis erupted.
* But party sources said the numbers were with Palaniswami -- who was elected the legislature party chief after Sasikala was convicted in the corruption case – and he could be invited by Raj Bhavan in a day or two after Sasikala’s camp managed to hold all of its lawmakers together.
* This dashed the hopes of Panneerselvam, who appeared crestfallen after his strategy of turning a “trickle” of MLAs to his side into a “torrent” failed. Sources indicated with no mass defections, his side remained woefully short of the majority mark of 118 in a 234-member assembly.