OPS seeks floor test, joins hands with Deepa

Updated - November 28, 2021 09:54 pm IST

Published - February 15, 2017 01:42 am IST - CHENNAI:

O. Panneerselvam and Deepa at the Jayalalithaa memorial in Chennai.

O. Panneerselvam and Deepa at the Jayalalithaa memorial in Chennai.

Though convicted by the Supreme Court, AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala on Tuesday moved to prevent Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam from capitalising on his popularity by ensuring that Edappadi K. Palaniswami was elected leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party.

However, Mr. Panneerselvam, who is still seeking an opportunity to prove his majority in the House, in a counter move dramatically secured the support of Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar, who has been drawing fair crowds of AIADMK sympathisers since the former Chief Minister’s death. Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Deepa symbolically met at the Jayalalithaa Memorial on the Marina on Tuesday night and paid homage to her. Ms. Deepa declared, “The Chief Minister and I will function like two hands ( iru karangalaga ) of the AIADMK” even as a crowd of supporters cheered the development.

Earlier, Mr. Panneerselvam appealed to party legislators to interact with people in their constituencies and act as per their wishes in backing the right faction.

Commenting on Ms. Sasikala’s strategy, R. Kannan, who is working on a biography of AIADMK founder MGR, said, “The attitude seems to be that even if I lose one eye, my rival should lose both. I think the present situation will lead to another election as the floor test might throw up unpleasant surprises for both sides, going by past history.”

Incidentally, with Mr. Palaniswami’s attempt, the Gounders will have an opportunity to head the government for the first time since Dr. P. Subbarayan was Premier of the Madras Presidency from 1926 to 1930.

Pandiarajan hopeful

School Education Minister K. Pandiarajan, who tried to meet the MLAs in Koovathur, expressed the hope that Mr. Panneerselvam would be able to form the government if they [MLAs] were allowed to function independently. “We are in touch with many MLAs and the police have evacuated the anti-social elements. But I could not meet the MLAs because prohibitory orders are in force,” he told The Hindu .

Mr. Pandiarajan alleged that there was an attempt to project Ms. Sasikala as a “martyr” and the MLAs were being subjected to emotional blackmail.

“They have been given a wrong hope that Mr. Palaniswami will form the government. We have requested the Governor to conduct a floor test as it will give the MLAs a free atmosphere to express their support,” Mr. Pandiarajan said.

There is an opinion that even if Mr. Panneerselvam manages the support of some more MLAs, he may not be in a position to form the government.

Getting DMK support is out of the question as he will play into the hands of his rivals. The only hope for both the factions is that MLAs will not be ready for a snap poll with four years to complete the present term.

“Now the MLAs have been confined to a place voluntarily or involuntarily and the seriousness of Ms. Sasikala’s conviction is yet to sink in. They will be able to think clearly only when she leaves the scene ,” said A.R. Venkatachalapathy, Professor of Madras Institute of Development Studies.

He said most of the cabinet colleagues were not able to reconcile themselves to the reality of accepting O. Panneerselvam, who is either their peer or a junior in the party.

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