AIADMK fight: Sasikala suffers setback, Governor Vidyasagar Rao says won't rush to invite her to form government

The AIADMK fight between VK Sasikala and O. Panneerselvam has been put in abeyance until the Supreme Court decides whether Sasikala had amassed wealth illegally.

AIADMK fight: Sasikala suffers setback, Governor Vidyasagar Rao says won

Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Friday called a time-out in the contest between AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on who will be called to form the government, in view of the Supreme Court judgement due in a disproportionate assets case against Sasikala.

The decision of Governor Rao is being seen as a major setback for Sasikala’s ambitions to make it to Chief Minister. There was confusion as to whether Governor Rao had sent in a 3-page report to the Home Ministry on his decision or if sources close to him had leaked the information to some people in the media. But Home Ministry sources in Delhi said no report had reached them.

The Governor is said to have remarked that the situation in Tamil Nadu had no precedent. While noting that it was Panneerselvam himself who proposed on behalf of the MLAs that Sasikala be appointed as Chief Minister and had submitted his resignation in her favour, Rao said now Panneerselvam had stated that he was forced to resign under duress.

The Governor further held that Sasikala was being pushed to become CM even when she was not an MLA. This statement of Rao’s has piqued interest in several quarters since there have been many, many instances where leaders have been appointed Chief Ministers without being elected as MLAs or MLCs and won elections within 6 months of taking office. Even the deceased AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa had herself done so.

Earlier in the day, DMK executive president MK Stalin became the third leader to call on Rao after Sasikala and Panneerselvam. While it was rumoured that the DMK may stake claim or amplify Panneerselvam’s claim, Stalin said he had called upon the Governor to impress upon him that the machinery of the state had been lying idle for over 9 months, ever since Jayalalithaa was hospitalised in September 2016.

Sasikala sacked AIADMK presidium chairman E. Madhusudhanan for anti-party activities today after he joined Panneerselvam’s ranks. Her loyalist KA Sengottaiyan was named the new presidium chairman. The AIADMK had instituted this post to placate senior leaders, primarily VR Nedunchezhian, when Jayalalithaa took control of the party. Nedunchezhian was the number 2 of MG Ramachandran as well as the original DMK heir to CN Annadurai when he was pipped to the post by DMK’s current president M. Karunanidhi in 1969.