Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao and the Centre have ruled out for now intervening in the crisis in the AIADMK and directing Chief Minister K. Palaniswamy to face a trial of strength in the state Assembly.
The Governor’s position was conveyed to a delegation of opposition parties from Tamil Nadu which met him at the Raj Bhawan in Chennai under the leadership of Viduthalai Chirutthaigal Katchi (VCK) and by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to a group of AIADMK leaders who met him in Delhi.
Following the development, the DMK and other opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday accused the Governor of playing a “partisan” role and “passing the buck” by refusing to convene a meeting of the Assembly for the AIADMK government to prove its majority.
First, a delegation of four parties including VCK and CPI-M met the Governor and demanded that he direct the Chief Minister to face a floor test in the Assembly.
VCK leader Thirumavalavan told the media that the Governor told them that he cannot intervene in the situation now as the ball was not in his court because the 19 AIADMK MLAs who had expressed lack of confidence in the Chief Minister were still in that party.
The issue was still within the domain of AIADMK, he told them.
“We told him the ball was in his court. The Governor said the ball has not come to his court. This reflects the position of the BJP at the Centre which is against the fall of the AIADMK government,” Thirumavalavan said.
“We told the Governor that the action of the 19 MLAs amounts to their losing confidence in the government and it was his democratic duty to ask for proving the government’s majority in the House,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of senior AIADMK leaders including Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai and Tamil Nadu ministers D. Jayakumar and Thangamani met Rajnath Singh and discussed the political situation in the state.
Rajnath Singh is beleived to have told them that the issue was now within the ambit of “internal affairs” of the AIADMK and the Governor had nothing to do with it.
The DMK and other opposition parties instead should approach the Speaker for any remedy, he reportedly said.
Reacting to the reported remarks of the Governor, DMK leader M.K. Stalin alleged that Rao was behind the coming together of the two factions of the AIADMK as he was acting at the behest of the Modi government which was using agencies like the Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate to threaten AIADMK leaders.
Stalin said the Governor was playing politics.
He said the Governor should follow the precedent set by him earlier this year when he directed a floor test after former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam withdrew the support of 10 AIADMK MLAs to the government.
Stalin said a delegation of MPs comprising DMK, Congress, CPI-M, CPI and Muslim League would be meeting President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday to press their demand for an immediate floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Echoing similar sentiments, V. Pugazhendi from the Dinakaran faction of the AIADMK said “terrified” AIADMK leaders were going around meeting Union Ministers to avoid a dismissal of the government.
Dinakaran himself told reporters in Chennai he still believed that the Governor would take a “good” decision on the demand of the 19 MLAs owing allegiance to him on the removal of the Chief Minister. He said he was giving time for Palaniswamy to step down on his own.
The BJP in Tamil Nadu strongly defended the role of the Governor, saying opposition parties were trying to politicise the issue.
State BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan said in Coimbatore said the Governor was a mature person and would go by what is law and Constitution and not what the opposition parties want.