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Rediff.com  » News » 'Governor did absolutely the right thing by waiting for SC verdict'

'Governor did absolutely the right thing by waiting for SC verdict'

February 14, 2017 15:49 IST

'He can install OPS as chief minister and ask him to do the floor test later.'

IMAGE: Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, left, with Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Dr Subramanian Swamy at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai, February 11, 2016. Photograph: PTI Photo

In an earlier interview to Rediff.com, K M Vijayan, an advocate and Constitutional expert, had cited the case of the Supreme Court questioning former Tamil Nadu governor Justice Fatima Beevi for swearing in J Jayalalithaa as chief minister in 2001 when she was not an MLA but had the legislative numbers with her.

Vijayan had said that as V K Sasikala, who had hoped to become Tamil Nadu chief minister, was not an MLA and there was a criminal case against her pending in the Supreme Court in which the judgment was awaited, it was right on the governor's part to not invite her.

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Karnataka trial court judgment in the disproportionate assets case, Vijayan tells Shobha Warrier that the governor can now call O Paneerselvam to be the chief minister.

Sasikala's proxy has staked a claim to be chief minister.

When there is a possibility that she can become chief minister, people will oscillate between this side and that side.

But nobody will be so foolish to listen to her when she shows somebody else as her person.

Whichever name she puts forward, the MLAs will not listen to her now that she has been convicted and cannot become an MLA for another 10 years.

No MLA will listen to her.

Sasikala's dictates have come to an end today.

She may have the wish to bring in somebody as her candidate, but that is practically impossible.

She has put up Eddapadi Palaniswamy as her candidate.

The governor will just ignore the name. Who will give letters to such a person?

When she was there, she was shown as the power centre.

When the power centre was likely to come to power, the MLAs would listen to her.

They may be fools, but they are not fools to the extent to not know what is better for their future.

Any name sponsored by Sasikala will not work because she does not guarantee power as she is going to jail.

How will she manage from jail?

What are the options before the governor now?

The governor is free now that the Supreme Court verdict has come.

The entire group which was supposed to be there with her will soon move towards the OPS side.

That is because OPS has a clean four-and-a-half years to rule the state and he was already chief minister.

So, the MLAs will think that it is better to be with OPS rather than with somebody else propelled by Sasikala.

We are hearing about a signature campaign among MLAs loyal to her..

The signatures will be of no use.

Sasikala getting the letter and somebody else getting the letter are two different things.

And Sasiskala's position yesterday and today are totally different.

You are saying the only option before the governor is to call OPS to form the next government.

Yes.

Even if he has only 40 or 50 MLAS with him right now?

The governor can even install OPS as the chief minister and other ministers on his recommendation.

In the first assembly meeting, he can have a floor test and then everyone will support him.

If they don't, they will lose their seat.

Would you say that the governor would call OPS because he was the interim chief minister?

He was already a chief minister with a majority.

The governor need not ask him for a floor test now.

He can install OPS as the chief minister and ask him to do the floor test later.

Even if there is another claimant?

My view is that nobody will listen to Sasikala and there will not be another claimant.

What if there is a claim by another person before the governor?

They will be asked to prove their strength, which they will not be able to, as Sasikala's word has no strength now.

The first chance will go only to OPS.

Because he is interim chief minister?

Not only that, because he was installed as the chief minister on December 6, 2016.

But then he resigned...

That is because of a different reason.

Do you feel the political crisis has come to an end and there is no confusion now?

Yes. There will not be any crisis or confusion as nobody will listen to Sasikala.

Would you say the political turmoil in Tamil Nadu has come to a peaceful end?

Instead of saying a peaceful end, the claims and counter-claims between the good and the bad have now been polarised.

Does Sasikala have any other legal option now?

She has no other legal option.

A review of the verdict will not be permitted because there will not be a hearing for a review; it has to be circulated.

Only if they (the judges) want to hear will they issue a notice.

Do you feel the governor did the right thing by waiting for the Supreme Court verdict? The last time when we spoke, you gave the example of Justice Fatima Beevi.

It was not only the case of the Supreme Court verdict, the governor had a peculiar situation where there were two claimants where one claimant had no problem and the other claimant had the number but had a tainted background.

So, he was Constitutionally bound to select a person who did not have the tainted background.

That was what the Supreme told Fatima Beevi.

Do you feel that could be the reason behind the governor waiting for the verdict?

Yes. He must look into not only this case, but the other cases against her also.

Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said any machine or clerk could do an accurate head count, but a governor had to do more.

Yes. He is right.

This question came to the Supreme Court when Fatima Beevi did the swearing-in of Jayalalithaa as the chief minister in 2001.

It posed a question, just because somebody had the numbers can you install a foreigner as the chief minister of a state?

The answer was, you cannot.

Installing a person with numbers, but without getting elected as an MLA is subject to various other legal impediments.

Sasikala had many legal impediments. So, the governor did absolutely the right thing by waiting for the Supreme Court verdict.

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Shobha Warrier / Rediff.com