INDIA ABROAD February 17, 2017 24 INDIA
he tug of war for power
in Tamil Nadu saw
Secretary V.K. Sasikala
staking her claim to
form the government
on Feb. 9, while caretaker Chief
Minister O. Panneerselvam
voiced confidence that "justice
will win," though the numbers at
present do not stack up in his
The entire political drama was
centered at the Raj Bhavan, after
Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao
arrived from Mumbai. Both
Sasikala and Panneerselvam met
him, with the former handing the
governor letters of support from
her party legislators.
Sasikala was accompanied by
senior ministers at her meeting
According to a AIADMK statement, Sasikala handed over the
documents electing her as the
leader of the legislature party.
But the statement was strangely
silent on the number of legislators supporting her.
Before going to Raj Bhavan,
Sasikala went to J. Jayalalithaa's
memorial at Marina beach and
paid homage to her mentor.
She also kept a large envelope
at the memorial as a mark of
seeking the late chief minister’s
Speaking to reporters after
meeting Rao Panneerselvam
said: "I met the governor and
briefed him about the happenings in the state."
"Justice will win," declared
Paneerselvam, who has the support of five legislators now.
Earlier, in an interview the
caretaker chief minister voiced
his confidence of winning a
In an interview to a Tamil
channel, Panneerselvam declined
to reveal the number of legislators who were supporting him,
but said he would prove his
strength on the floor of the
He said that party legislators
would have the chance to vote as
per their conscience and that he
would be able to prove his majority there.
In a move to consolidate his
power, Panneerselvam also said
the Poes Garden residence of
Jayalalithaa would be converted
into a memorial. He made the
comment while welcoming the
Chairman E. Madhusudanan,
who had earlier pressed Sasikala
to lead the party. Sasikala, a con-
fidante of Jayalalithaa, who died
in December, now lives at the
Panneerselvam welcomed the
support from Madhusudanan,
who said his conscience told him
to join Panneerselvam.
In a related development in
New Delhi, Lok Sabha Speaker
Sumitra Mahajan rejected a
notice by the AIADMK on Tamil
Nadu Governor Rao asking that
the swearing in of Sasikala as
chief minister be expedited.
Mahajan said that she had
received a notice of adjournment
from AIADMK leader P.
"The notice is regarding the
conduct of the governor. This
can't be discussed in the house.
So I can't allow," Mahajan said,
disallowing other notices of
adjournment given by opposition
members as well.
The AIADMK members also
raised a ruckus in the House,
demanding the early swearing in
The AIADMK members
trooped to the Speaker's podium
shouting slogans like "Save
democracy in Tamil Nadu."
On Feb. 8, Panneerselvam had
said a commission of inquiry
headed by a sitting Supreme
Court judge would be set up to
probe into the death of
She died Dec. 5, 2016 after
being admitted to Apollo
Hospital for 75 days. There is
widespread doubt about the
cause of her death and hence the
probe was instituted.
Panneerselvam resigned as
chief minister on Feb. 5, and the
resignation was accepted by
That day Sasikala was elected
leader of the legislature party so
that she could become the chief
minister. Rao had asked Panneerselvam to stay on till alternate
arrangement were made.
On Feb. 6, in a dramatic turn
of events, Panneerselvam after
meditating 40 minutes at
Jayalalithaa's memorial dropped
the “Paneer Bomb.” He said he
was compelled to resign and propose Sasikala for the post of
leader of legislature party.
Meanwhile DMK Working
President M.K. Stalin said in a
statement the governor should
see that the vote of confidence is
held in the state Assembly.
Sasikala Stakes Claim to Form
Government in Tamil Nadu
Power struggle in AIADMK continues to cripple state politics
AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala pays homage at the memorial of J. Jayalalithaa in Chennai Feb. 9. Below, caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam
speaking to reporters in Chennai Feb. 9 after his meeting with Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao.
In a dramatic
turn of events,