TN crisis over, Guv invites Sasikala pick Edappadi Palanisami to form govt

E Palanisami, who claims support of 124 MLAs, has to seek a vote of confidence in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 15 days.

Chennai: Sasikala loyalist Edappadi K Palanisami is all set to be the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu with the Governor on Thursday inviting him to form government at the "earliest".

Ending the 10-day impasse over government formation, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao asked Palanisami, the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader, to form his ministry at the earliest and seek a vote of confidence in the assembly within 15 days.

"The Governor has today appointed Edappadi K Palanisami, Party Headquarters Secretary of AIADMK as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and invited him to form the ministry at the earliest," a Raj Bhavan release said.

Palanisami's swearing-in ceremony will take place at 4:30 pm.

31 MLAs will also be sworn in as Cabinet ministers along with Palanisami. Here's the list:

The Governor's invitation came "in acceptance" of the letter submitted by Palanisami on February 14, saying he had been elected as the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature party in a meeting of its MLAs that day.

Earlier in the day, the Governor had met Palanisami, the third meeting between the two since February 14 when AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala was convicted by the Supreme Court in an assets case, dealing a body blow to her ambition of becoming Chief Minister.

She was earlier elected AIADMK Legislature party leader on February 5, but a revolt by the O Panneerselvam came as a spanner in her works. Soon after news of Palanisami emerging as the next Chief Minister came in, supporters of Sasikala welcomed his elevation and hailed the Governor's decision.

MLAs staying at the Koovathur resort, about 80 km from Chennai, for the past one week amidst police enquiries of their well-being, were all smiles and also raised slogans, hailing 'Chinnamma' (Sasikala).

Party MPs supporting Sasikala said due process has come into being and that the state government would stay.

Though the Governor held meetings with both the warring factions led by Panneerselvam and Palanisami respectively during the last two days, he seems to have gone by the constitutional mandate on the support of MLAs' to the Chief Minister designate, who claims to have the 124 legislators on his side.

Rao was on Monday advised by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to convene a special session of the Legislative Assembly within a week for holding a composite floor test.

Immediately after Rao invited Palanisami to form the government, AIADMK MLAs hailed the Governor, and raised pro-Sasikala slogans.

The AIADMK Twitter handle, after posting the Governor's decision, simply said, '#Ammawins'.

Sources on Wednesday said the Governor’s office had verified the signatures of the 124 legislators, whose letters of support Palanisami had submitted to Vidyasagar Rao on Wednesday for the second time.

The Governor was of the view that 'the whole world knew that Palanisami had the numbers on his side'. The Governor formed the view that he would go by the time-tested tradition of inviting the leader claiming majority support.

He was of the view that the advice of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to hold a joint floor test to determine the strength of the two sides did not hold water in this case.

Vidyasagar Rao’s stand was that no previous Governor had called for such a test, which had only been ordered by the Supreme Court, sources said.

E Palanisami was appointed AIADMK legislature party leader by Sasikala on Wednesday, before surrendered in Bengaluru jail.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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