Panneerselvam had given his resignation to the governor on Sunday and this was accepted, Rao asking him to officiate till arrangements had been made for his successor. Later, Panneerselvam told the media he was forced to quit as CM and wished to withdraw his resignation if that was what people, the party cadre and MLAs wanted.
Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and ruling party chief V K Sasikala. Last Sunday, she had been elected by MLAs of the ruling AIADMK to succeed Panneerselvam, at the time with his apparent consent, to succeed him as CM. This week, he revolted and said he wouldn’t step down.
The governor arrived from Mumbai this afternoon and first, at 5 pm, met Panneerselvam for about 15 minutes. At 7.30 pm, he met Sasikala.
The CM was accompanied by senior party figures who have left Sasikala’s camp. Sasikala met Rao with senior ministers.
Sasikala had earlier sent a letter to the governor on her claim to be CM, signed by 134 MLAs, a majority in the state assembly.
Sources and reports have said Panneerselvam told the governor that Sasikala being appointed as party head (general secretary in AIADMK parlance) was against the AIADMK’s constitution. And, asked to be allowed to demonstrate the backing of MLAs in the Assembly.
A political analyst said the governor might wait till the Supreme Court delivers its judgment in the illegal assets case in which Sasikala is also a party. The verdict is expected in a few days. He will probably act upon legal advice on calling Sasikala for taking the oath as CM.
Sasikala and AIADMK members have already been alleging that the governor is deliberately delaying in the matter.
Two petitions have also been filed in the high court here, alleging ruling party MLAs have been confined against their wishes (by the Sasikala group, which has denied this) at a location near this city.
The AIADMK said on Wednesday that 129 of the 134 MLAs had participated in the meeting that elected Sasikala as legislature party head. Panneerselvam has claimed he can prove a majority if the governor asks him to do so. Visibly, however, only six MLAs had expressed support to him till Wednesday. He was dismissed by Sasikala on Tuesday as party treasurer, after a press conference in which he came down heavily on Sasikala, her kin and party colleagues who’d backed her claim.