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'Palanisamy won't be CM, we need 5 more MLA to ensure that'

By A Ganesh Nadar
February 16, 2017 09:01 IST
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O Panneerselvam may have a trick or two to spring a surprise, reports A Ganesh Nadar.

IMAGE: Edappadi K Palanisamy with the late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa. Photograph: Kind courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Even as the Supreme Court drew the curtains on V K Sasikala's political ambitions with its verdict in the disproportionate assets case, the AIADMK general secretary planned her next moves carefully.

In the hours leading up to her to surrender and eventual lodging at the central jail at Parappana Agrahara in Bengaluru, she sacked O Panneerselvam from the AIADMK, anointed Gounder community stongman Edappadi K Palanisamy as leader of the legislature party and re-admitted her nephew T T V Dinakaran (who had been sacked by Jayalalithaa) as the party's deputy secretary.

Palanisamy, who comes with a clean record, has already staked a claim to form the government.

The AIADMK has 132 members (barring Speaker and the late Jayalalithaa) in the assembly.

Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Wednesday asked both Palanisamy and Panneerselvam to come up with their list of supporters in their bid to become the next chief minister.

Sources say if Rao is convinced by Palanisamy's list of supporters, he will be asked to form the government.

Once sworn in, Palanisamy will have to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

But that won't be easy.

S P Shunmuganathan, former minister in the AIADMK government and Srivaikuntam MLA, was among the first to switch sides and join the Panneerselvam camp.

"So far we have 10 MLAs with us; more are on the way," Shunmuganathan told

"The work is going on silently and efficiently. There is nothing to worry. Palanisamy will not be able to form the government as he will not get the necessary 118 votes in the assembly," Shunmuganathan added.

"We need only 5 more MLAs to ensure that, and we are now sure of 10 MLAs coming over at any time. They are under a lot of pressure from the people and the police. The police have been repeatedly asking them if they are under any threat," the MLA said.

Karuppasamy Pandian, the powerful politician from Tirunelveli, resigned as AIADMK organising secretary after Sasikala appointed her nephew Dinakaran as deputy general secretary.

"He will be here (in the OPS camp) shortly," Shunmuganathan claimed, adding, "MLAs owing allegiance to him will also come here. You wait and see. We will come out on top."

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A Ganesh Nadar / in Chennai
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