AIADMK legislature party leader Edapaddi Palaniswami was sworn in as the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu this evening. He now has to prove numbers within 15 days. Earlier, the feelers of a key announcement were stoked soon after Palaniswami, AIADMK chief Sasikala’s pick, got a call from Raj Bhavan Thursday morning. 31 other ministers were also sworn-in by the Governor.
Palaniswami is the third Chief Minister to assume office since the AIADMK government was formed post their return in Tamil Nadu last year May.
Last few days have seen a bitter power tussle between the party chief Sasikala and former CM O Panneerselvam. Last night, both the men had met with the Governor, each claiming majority support of AIADMK MLAs.
Meeting the Governor twice on Wednesday, which also saw Sasikala’s surrender in Bengaluru court, Palaniswami claimed the support of 124 of the party’s 134 MLAs. Tamil Nadu has a 234-member legislative assembly. Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar, who was among those who accompanied Palaniswami, claimed the group has the support of 124 MLAs.
“We have given the Governor a list of legislators supporting our legislature party leader Palaniswami. Governor told us that our representation will be considered and we are confident that democracy will be protected,” Jayakumar told reporters after the meeting.
“We have told Governor Rao that Palaniswami enjoys the support of a majority of MLAs and hence he should be invited to form the government,” he said.
Governor Rao, who was on Moday advised by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to convene a special session of the Legislative Assembly within a week for holding a composite floor test, is yet to take a call on whom to invite to form the government first or to go for a trial of strength in the assembly.
Rao has been consulting legal experts over the affairs in Tamil Nadu and will be taking a decision on the formation of a new government after consulting, most likely three legal luminaries.
In his only report sent on Sunday to the central government, ever since O Panneerselvam resigned as Chief Minister on February 5, the Governor conveyed that he had taken legal opinions from Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran and constitutional exp`ert Sorabjee.
Two of the three experts are said to have suggested that a composite floor test like the one conducted in Uttar Pradesh in 1998 could be done in this case as well.
The Governor had earlier kept his decision to call Sasikala, who was chosen as the legislature party leader, pending seemingly over the due Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate assets case.
On Tuesday, Sasikala, along with two of her relatives, were held guilty in the DA case.