CM calls for meeting of Ministers, MLAs

With sidelined AIADMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran unrelenting in his mission to oust Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the latter has called for a meeting of Ministers and legislators at the Secretariat on Thursday.

The meeting is likely to throw up strategies that will be adopted to counter the campaign Mr. Dhinakaran, sources say. There are indications that apart from MLAs of the pro-Dhinakaran camp, a few other legislators who have not pledged their support openly for Mr. Palaniswami have not been invited for the meeting.

Meanwhile, talks are doing the rounds in political and bureaucratic circles that to tide over the current political crisis caused by the withdrawal of support to the Chief Minster by 19 AIADMK legislators, the option of keeping the Assembly in suspended animation could be exercised. Senior bureaucrats privately admit that this option cannot be ruled out if an immediate election were to be prevented.

Look at precedents

On numerous occasions, the Centre had resorted to President’s rule without dissolving the House.

Normally, this option is used in times of political instability. Last year, the Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand Assemblies were brought under suspended animation. In respect of the former, the duration lasted a few weeks, and in the case of the latter, it was for about one-and-a-half months. On both occasions, the Centre’s action came in for severe criticism.

The events in Karnataka are also worth recalling. In October 1990, the Centre kept the State legislature in suspended animation for a week following the refusal of Veerendra Patil to quit the post of Chief Minister in defiance of his party president Rajiv Gandhi’s direction.

Even though the State witnessed the imposition of President’s rule four times (January 1976, February 1980, January 1988 and January 1991), its legislature also got dissolved simultaneously all the time. If at all the Assembly is kept under animated suspension this time, this would be the first such occasion. In that case, all the legislators would be drawing their pay and allowances till the President’s rule is lifted or the House gets dissolved.