In his first test, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami will seek a vote of confidence in the State Assembly on Saturday.
While inviting him to form a government on Thursday, Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao asked Mr. Palaniswami to seek a vote of confidence in the next 15 days. Later in the day, the government announced that a vote of confidence would be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
On the eve of the floor test, both camps are witnessing feverish political activity.
Here are the updates:
O. Panneerselvam reads outs a statement at his residence — a passionate plea to AIADMK MLAs. It was Jayalalithaa’s wish to wipe out dynastic rule in Tamil Nadu, he says.
He expresses happiness about Mylapore MLA R. Nataraj’s decision to side with him after his request. AIADMK MLAs should vote according to their conscience, he adds.
“If you are Amma’s true loyalists, you should vote against the (Palaniswamy) government when it seeks trust vote in the Assembly tomorrow,” Mr. Panneerselvam says.
Our correspondent Devesh K. Pandey from New Delhi:
Election Commission asks V.K. Sasikala to explain her appointment as the AIADMK’s interim general secretary. She has to reply by February 28.
Our correspondent Deepu Sebastain Edmond reports that the TNCC defers decision on whom to support in tomorrow’s floor test. Congress MLAs will go by Rahul Gandhi’s choice and will announce a decision at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president Su. Thirunavukkarasar refutes media reports that the Congress has decided to vote against the Palaniswami government. After a meeting of party MLAs at the TNCC headquarters, Sathyamoorthy Bhavan, he tells the media that all eight Congress MLAs would attend the Assembly and they would meet again at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
He says he does not have a Twitter account and the tweet attributed to him was not his.
After a meeting of DMK MLAs, party’s working president M.K. Stalin tells the media that his party will welcome a secret ballot during tomorrow’s trust vote. He says he came to know through news channels that the Congress too has decided to vote against the Palaniswami government.
Tamil news channels report that the Congress has decided to vote against the Palaniswami government’s confidence motion. All eight MLAs of the party have been told to be present and vote in the House tomorrow, the channels say.
The DMK decides to vote against the Palaniswami government in the floor test. The principal Opposition party announces the decision after a meeting of its 89 MLAs at its party headquarters, Arivalayam, in Channai.
The newly-appointed Leader of the House K.A. Sengottaiyan says E. Madhusudhanan has no power to expel anyone one from the party. Mr. Madusudhanan’s actions are strange as only party’s general secretary has the power to expel anyone, he says.
In another significant development, the AIADMK makes School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan the Leader of the House. O.Panneerselvam served as Leader of the House when Jayalalithaa was the Chief Minister.
Members from the O. Panneerselvam faction meet Speaker P. Dhanapal, a day ahead of the floor test.
The team, including K. Pandiarajan, S. Semmalai and Shanmuganthan (all MLAs) and senior leader C. Ponnaiyan, however, refuse to reveal details of the meeting.
Mylapore MLA and former Chennai Police Commissioner R. Nataraj extends support to the O. Panneerselvam camp.
OPS camp ‘removes’ Sasikala
In a tit for tat, the O. Panneerselvam camp “removed” AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala and her two relatives from the party for “going against its principles and ideals”.
In a statement, E. Madusudanan, who was earlier removed as Presidium Chairman by Ms. Sasikala, said she had “violated” her promise to the late Jayalalithaa that she will not enter politics and that she had no inclination to be a part of the party or the government. He asked the cadres not to have any association with Ms. Sasikala.
The development came a day after Mr. Palaniswami was sworn in as Chief Minister.
“V.K. Sasikala is being removed from the party’s primary membership for going against the party principles and ideals, and having violated her promise to Amma [Jayalalithaa], besides facing criminal cases. She has brought disrepute to the party,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Madusudanan, who joined the Panneerselvam camp last week, was replaced by Mr. Sengottaiyan as the Presidium Chairman. He was also removed from the party’s primary membership but he insisted that Ms. Sasikala had no authority to do so.
Ms. Sasikala, serving a jail term in Bengaluru in connection with the Rs. 66 crore disproportionate assets case, had also removed former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam from the party’s primary membership in the wake of his revolt against her.
Mr. Madusudanan also announced the “expulsion” of AIADMK deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran and S. Venkatesh, both relatives of Sasikala, from the party.
He said Ms. Jayalalithaa had (in 2011) expelled them from the party for “betraying” her. “Their re-induction, done without any authority, is being cancelled,” he said.
The two were allowed to join the AIADMK on Wednesday by Ms. Sasikala, after six years of expulsion by Jayalalithaa.
Ms. Sasikala had announced that they were being allowed to join after they expressed regret for their acts in person and through letter and requested that they be allowed to join the party again.
Mr. Panneerselvam had revolted against Ms. Sasikala on February 7, alleging he was forced to step down to make way for her elevation as chief minister.
She was elected the AIADMK Legislature Party leader on February 5 to enable her become chief minister. But the Governor, Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, had apparently chosen to await the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate assets case.
(With inputs from our Tamil Nadu Bureau and news agencies)