Sasikala nominee and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday will walk the tight rope to pass the Trust vote test on the floor of state assembly, especially when the rival AIADMK faction led by O Panneerselvam is joined by opposition parties to vote against the government.
The fresh salvo came late on Friday when Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader, MK Stalin, said that DMK will vote against Palaniswami and his party men in the assembly.
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Talking to media Stalin said, “People from all walks of life have been badly affected due to the political crisis in Tamil Nadu. If he (TN CM Palaniswami) seeks vote of confidence tomorrow, we will oppose him in the assembly. Our 89 MLAs will vote against him”.
Palaniswami, of the Sasikala camp, took oath as Tamil Nadu Chief Minster on Thursday evening. Confident of enough numbers, he took the option to not delay confidence motion and prove his strength in the House. He needs the support of 117 legislators to continue in the post.
AIADMK party had a support of 124 legislators when they came to power under the leadership of J Jayalalithaa who died December last year. However, after the breakup, 11 MLAs have sided up with OPS camp. The Speaker, who is also from AIADMK, will not be voting today.
The opposition now includes DMK with 89 members (M Karunanidhi will not vote as he is unwell), Congress 08, and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) 01.
Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has a total strength of 234 members. As of now, OPS camp and opposition together have 108 votes as against Palaniswami’s 123.
Pannerselvam’s last hope is for some MLAs to cross-over and vote against Palaniswami. He has already demanded that the voting should be done through a secret ballot.
Palaniswami did not go to the office yesterday after taking oath as CM on Thursday. Instead, he stayed the entire day with the MLAs who are stacked up at the Golden bay resort, 80 km away from Chennai.
The political storm in Tamil Nadu kick-started after Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala, alleging that he was forced to put down his papers as the State CM.
The slug-fest has finally boiled down to floor test, which, if Palaniswami wins, is expected to simmer down the chaos for a while at least.