Chennai: Even as the power struggle in Tamil Nadu between Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala raged on, the spotlight is now on Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao, who is yet to take a call on the matter.
But sources indicate that the Governor might eventually side with VK Sasikala, who yesterday claimed the support of over 130 MLAs in the state legislative Assembly.
The Governor reportedly said “I will take the correct decision,” but the Sasikala group came away convinced that they had won the day.
In the high-stakes presentation to the Tamil Nadu Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao, nothing was lost in translation in the longer meeting on Thursday evening he had with the Sasikala group that seemingly has the numbers – upto 127 of AIADMK’s 134 in a house of 234.
To set the ball rolling, Sasikala spoke in English for a couple of minutes according to insiders.
There was a pause after the Governor fired off several questions but ‘MaFoi’ Pandiarajan came to the rescue. When he spoke up from the back row, the Governor called him to come forward and TTV Dinakaran, sitting by Sasikala’s side all along, vacated his seat for Pandian to sit next to her and put forth the case face to face with the Governor as it were.
It is said that the spokesman put up a pretty convincing case against O Panneerselvam.
It was recounted that OPS was with them all the way right up to Sasikala’s anointment as the Legislative Party leader.
He had taken the papers of nomination to Poes Garden himself after proposing her name. He stood at the entrance while they gathered for the MLAs meeting at party HQ and he sat with Sasikala on the dais right through the conclave.
When the topic of MLAs came up, the spokesman was said to have convinced that every member who has signed on would be presented to him individually if he wished and the Governor could ascertain which way their loyalty lies.
With Pandiarajan’s long presentation coming to an end, the meeting got over on a warm note with the Governor apparently convinced where the numbers lay leading to his “correct decision” quip.
On the other hand, the Governor gave shorter shrift to OPS’ case. When OPS, speaking in Tamil, said he was under duress to do whatever he did, the Governor was said to have asked him how a CM could be under threat as he had the Home Department and the Police under him. It was AIAMDK Rajya Sabha MP Maitreyan who spoke in English to present their case.
The complaints against AIADMK MLAs being herded to a secret location and not being of their free will to vote was brought up as OPS pressed for a floor test. The Governor is said to have used the same “correct decision” line to bring that meeting, which took place before that of the Sasikala group, to a close.
The high stakes decision rests with the Governor now who has sent his report to the Centre. While its contents are not known, it would be a major surprise now if the Governor has not recommended Sasikala’s case for the chief ministership and the floor test with her at the helm.