Measured reaction from Cong, BJP on rumblings in Chennai

RSTV Bureau

Sasikala O Panneerselvam Tamil Nadu

While several events unfolded through the day in Chennai soon after Supreme Court’s verdict convicting AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala, the two national political parties – Congress and BJP – have been at best cautious in their reaction.

While the BJP, ruling Centre with a majority, is looking for an entry in Tamil Nadu, Congress party is yearning to revive its fortune in one of its past citadels.

Former Union minister and Congress’s senior most leader from the southern state P Chidambaram said Tamil Nadu Governor should follow the UP precedent and call for a composite vote in the Assembly if there are two claimants.

“If there is only one claimant, the Governor can swear-in the claimant and ask him to prove his majority. If there are two claimants, the Governor should call a composite vote,” Chidambaram said in a statement issued from New Delhi.

Similar opinion was echoed by the Attorney General in his suggestion to the Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.

In 1998, the Supreme Court had ordered a floor test in the UP assembly to determine who between the two claimants — Jagdambika Pal and Kalyan Singh — commanded the majority support for chief ministership.

Chidambaram, who is currently a Rajya Sabha MP, refused to comment on the apex court judgement. “It is a Supreme Court judgement and we are all bound by the judgement,” he said.

Incidentally, last week, he had said that Sasikala would be “unacceptable to most people” of the state.

Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in Parliament House on on 31 January 2017.

Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in Parliament House on on 31 January 2017.

On the other side of political spectrum, BJP was notch straight in its view over Sasikala pushing her nominee to be the next Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Senior BJP leader and its Tamil Nadu in-charge P Muralidhar Rao said “by appointing a proxy you can never win people’s trust”.

“Sasikala has the advantage of being at the top of the party but she does not have the advantage that Jayalalithaa had, which was having people’s endorsement. That is a very important factor,” the BJP leader added further.

In a day witnessing rapid developments, Sasikala loyalist Edappady K Palaniswami has been elected as the new Legislature Party Leader.

“The Governor (Ch Vidyasagar Rao) has to take a call in the context of the Supreme Court’s verdict. It has become a new factor. He cannot go by mere numbers. He has to go by both numbers and credibility,” Rao told a news agency adding, “he has to judge as to who is more viable and capable of giving a stable government.”

Though BJP, which doesn’t have a single MLA in the state assembly, has not made any official comment on the power struggle between caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Sasikala, party leaders have indicated their support for Panneerselvam