Sasikala vs Panneerselvam: TN on razor’s edge as Governor bides his time

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Tamil Nadu Governor meets Sasikala for 40 minutes, O Panneerselvam 10 minutes; to seek legal opinion.

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday bought time from chief minister, O. Panneerselvam and AIADMK General Secretary, V K Sasikala to decide on their demands saying he would get back to them after “consulting legal experts.”

While Mr Panneerselvam demanded that the Governor should allow him to prove his majority on the floor of the House since many MLAs are kept under “captive custody” and their signatures of support to Sasikala were “forged”, Ms Sasikala staked her claim to form the government by submitting the long list of MLAs supporting her.

Reports said the Governor, in his communication to the Centre late on Thursday night, called the situation in Tamil Nadu “fluid” and that “claims by both sides” need to be verified.

Sources said the Governor gave a “patient hearing” to both leaders who met him separately after he arrived from Mumbai Thursday afternoon and told them that he would get back after “studying the situation and consulting legal experts.”

While Mr Panneerselvam declared after his meeting with the Governor that “dharma” will finally emerge victorious and “good” will happen as he had explained the real situation to the Governor, Ms Sasikala did not address the media after she led a delegation of senior ministers, including Dindigul Sreenivasan and D. Jayakumar to the Governor and staked her claim. Her relative and former MP, TTV Dinakaran was also present at the meeting.

“Chinamma met Governor at the Raj Bhavan and handed over documents relating to her election as leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party,” a statement from the party said without elaborating. Party sources said they she submitted a letter of support from “134 MLAs” to the Governor and requested him to swear-in Ms Sasikala as Chief Minister immediately.

Before heading to the Raj Bhavan, Ms Sasikala paid an “emotional” visit to Jayalalithaa memorial on the Marina Beach and paid her respects by placing the list of MLAs before it.

Sources in the OPS camp told Deccan Chronicle they insisted that the Governor should allow the chief minister to “prove his majority” on the floor of the House since many MLAs have been “forced to sign” the letter under duress. They also alleged that many MLAs have been kept under “captive custody” by the Sasikala camp for the past two days and many want to “escape” and come to their side.

They also produced MLA Shunmuganathan who is alleged to have told the Governor that he was forced into a bus by Sasikala camp and that he “escaped from their clutches.”

AIADMK Rajya Sabha V Maitreyan, who has taken OPS’ side, said the Governor should allow “us to prove our majority in the Assembly.”

“Many MLAs may be with them, but their hearts are with us. The only place where the MLAs can act according to their conscience is the Assembly,” he said.

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