Governor to reach Chennai amid Panneerselvam-Sasikala war

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is set to reach here on Thursday amid a bitter war between AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala and acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, both of whom claimed majority support in the ruling party. Maharashtra Governor Rao, who holds additional charge of Tamil Nadu, would be in Chennai on Thursday afternoon, official sources in Mumbai said.
Amid criticism from Sasikala’s backers that Rao was seemingly avoiding coming to Chennai, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Rao was studying the situation in the state.
Naidu denied speculation that the Modi government had a role to play in the political crisis in Tamil Nadu.
Panneerselvam, who on Tuesday night dramatically revolted against Sasikala and alleged he was forced to quit as chief minister on Sunday, said on Wednesday that he would prove his majority in the 234-seat assembly.
Addressing supporters at his residence, Panneerselvam said: “A government expected by you will be formed soon.”
But Sasikala supporters said as many as 130 of the 134 AIADMK MLAs were with her, a long-time confidante of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa who died on December 5.
On Wednesday, Sasikala accused Panneerselvam of “betrayal” after he refused to back her plans to head the government. She was earlier elected by party legislators as their house leader.
On his part, Panneerselvam announced that a Supreme Court judge will head a Commission of Inquiry to probe Jayalalithaa’s demise after a 75-day stay in hospital. He said there were many questions over the death.
The MLAs backing Sasikala were ferried to secret locations, party sources said, amid speculation that they may fly to New Delhi to be paraded before President Pranab Mukherjee. — IANS