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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
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India: Amid state instability, Banwarilal Purohit appointed as Governor of Tamil Nadu! (Contemporary politics of Tamil Nadu)

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Former Governor of Assam, 77-year old Banwarilal Purohit was on October 06 Friday sworn in as the 25th Governor of Tamil Nadu, taking over at a time when the state is witnessing political churning within the ruling AIADMK and demand by the opposition for a floor test.

Banwarilal Purohit was administered the oath of office as the new governor of Tamil Nadu by Madras high court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee at a brief ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Chennai. Purohit took the oath in the name of God. Chief Minister K Palaniswamy, his cabinet colleagues, DMK working president and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly MK Stalin and senior BJP leaders, including Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, were among those present.

The Central government had appointed Purohit last week amid growing demands for a full-time Governor to the state.

After the retirement of K Rosaiah in August last year, Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao was given additional charge of Tamil Nadu.

Governor Purohit

After Rosaiah’s retirement in August 2016, Maharashtra governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao had an additional charge of Tamil Nadu and there have been growing demands from the opposition parties in the state for a permanent governor.

Amid the ongoing political turmoil in the state, Tamil Nadu finally has its full time governor Banwari Lal Purohit, more than a year after K. Rosaiah retired. The appointment was announced by President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday morning.

Purohit who was appointed as the governor of Assam in August last year has been thrice elected as a Member of Parliament from Nagpur, twice as the Indian National Congress member and once as a BJP member.

Purohit, an experienced campaigner, has his task cut out as the DMK has already expressed confidence that he would act on its plea for a floor test.

Purohit has been involved in social, political, educational and industrial fields in Vidharbha in Maharashtra. He plunged into active politics in 1977 and entered the Maharashtra Assembly for the first time in 1978 by winning the Nagpur East seat. He is also credited with revival of The Hitavada, an English daily founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the mentor of Mahatma Gandhi.

Later, talking to reporters the DMK leader alleged he was not allowed to greet Purohit as per protocol.

After taking oath, the new governor assured that all his decisions would be apolitical and he would abide by the Constitution of India.

Opposition leader Stalin said that since the new governor was fully aware of the present political situation in the southern state, he was confident that governor Purohit will “take appropriate action” on its plea for a floor test of the ruling AIADMK government.

Apart from Tamil Nadu, President Kovind also made new governor appointments to Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya, on Saturday. Satya Pal Malik, former lawmaker and BJP’s national vice president, is the new Bihar Governor. Interestingly, the post had fallen vacant with the appointment of Kovind to the top post. Ganga Prasad, who is a former member of Bihar’s Legislative Council, was appointed as the governor of Meghalaya and Brig (retired) B.D. Mishra will take charge as governor of Arunachal Pradesh, an official release by Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

Additionally, Professor Jagdish Mukhi has been appointed as the new governor of Assam. “The above appointments will take effect from the dates the incumbents assume charge of their respective offices,” the release added. The president also appointed Admiral (Retd.) Devendra Kumar Joshi as the lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

 

Controversy

The swearing-in function saw a bit of controversy as Leader of the opposition and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin alleged he was not allowed to greet Purohit as per protocol. At the swearing-in, Stalin was seen engaged in an argument with a government official.

After the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues felicitated Purohit, the Government Whip greeted, Stalin said contending this was against protocol. "According to protocol, after the ministers, the Leader of Opposition has to greet. But when I was proceeding, an official said I could not go there and that I should be doing so only after judges greeted the governor," he claimed.

Stalin said he was allowed to greet the governor only after he stood his ground.

Asked if he will meet the new governor to take up the prevailing political situation in the state, Stalin said he had issued a statement on reported alleged irregularities in purchase of walkie-talkie for the police department and that he had sought the governor's intervention in the matter. "If he sees the statement and based on his response to it and if required, I will meet him later," he said.

 

Floor test demand

 

The Opposition DMK, seeking to make the ailing K. Karunanidhi the CM again so that a plot at Marina Beech near the burial monument of his mentor and former CM Annadurai is ensured for him in case he dies as CM, is anxiously waiting for floor test to defeat the Palanisamy government in the floor of the House. The rebel leader Dinakaran is also pressing for the same oust their Amma’s party from Madras Fort because his “chinnamma” can never become CM of the state.

Maharashtra governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, who had been holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu since last year, had been in the midst of some significant political developments in the state after the demise of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in December last year. His actions had come under criticism from all quarters. The main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had claimed that Rao failed to uphold his “constitutional obligations and moral responsibility” by not ordering a floor test after 18 MLAs, now disqualified, had expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister and owed allegiance to sidelined leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran.

Rao, who took additional charge as governor of Tamil Nadu days ahead of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalization in September 2016, had administered the oath of office to two chief ministers—O. Panneerselvam and Palaniswami. He also saw a split in the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and ordered a floor test in February this year.

Guv Rao had come under attack from the DMK for not ordering the floor test as sought by the opposition parties who made a beeline to the Raj Bhavan seeking the governor's intervention. The matter was taken to the high court where the state Advocate General had argued that the revolt against the chief minister was an 'intra-party affair' and the governor could not interfere.

The Opposition DMK had unsuccessfully insisted on Purohit's predecessor Rao to order a floor test. However, subsequently one of rebel MLAs had switched side to the chief minister-led faction while the other 18 had been disqualified by the Assembly Speaker under anti-defection law, which has been challenged in the Madras High Court which stayed the floor test, increasing the level of unpredictability of Tamil Nadu politics. 

Stalin, who had earlier welcomed Purohit's appointment, had expressed confidence that the new governor would "take appropriate action" on DMK's plea for a floor test. "We believe he will not function like the (previous) governor in-charge (Rao)," he had said.

DMK had approached the court and had sought the court to direct the governor to order a floor test to prove the majority of the Palaniswami government “after having lost confidence” in Rao.

The Opposition had also knocked at the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind with a similar plea. Dhinakaran too had called on Rao with a usual plea to remove Palaniswamy as chief minister.

Meanwhile, Madras HC extended stay on floor test in Tamil Nadu assembly.

Neutrality

After being sworn-in, Purohit extended his "wholehearted" support to the state government's development activities, saying he will do his 'best' to ensure, among others, more Central funds for the state. In his first public comments after taking oath of office, Purohit assured the people that his decisions would have no political consideration and that he would strive for the state's development. "All the decisions which I am going to take, small or big, there will be no political consideration. The governor's office is above politics. Everybody can be rest assured. All the decisions will be (taken) on merit," he said.

Guv Purohit's remarks come in the midst of persistent demand by opposition parties, including the DMK, that the K Palaniswamy government should be directed to prove its majority in the Assembly. They have been contending that the government was in a minority in the 234-member assembly since 19 AIADMK MLAs loyal to sidelined party leader TTV Dhinakaran expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister on 22 August.

In his brief interaction with reporters, Purohit said his decisions will be guided by the Constitution as he has decided to "preserve and protect" it. "I am going to wholeheartedly support the government as far as development activities are concerned. I will use my influence in Delhi. I have my good friends in almost all the (central) ministries." He said there will be "total transparency" in the administration and extended his best wishes to "brothers and sisters" of the state.

 

Split

The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) was vertically split after Panneerselvam rebelled against the then general secretary of the party V.K. Sasikala, the chief ministerial ambitions of Sasikala were crushed after the Supreme Court’s verdict in the disproportionate assets case, after the Guv Rao’s refusal to swear  her in as CM hurriedly  so that she claim special status in the jail.

Rao, the longest serving acting governor of Tamil Nadu has sworn in two chief ministers in between the state’s political churn. Rao administered the oath of office to O. Panneerselvam and his cabinet just hours after the death of J. Jayalalithaa on 5 December, last year. Governor Rao also administered the oath of office to Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the state witnessed its third chief minister in less than three months. And, along with the appointment of the new cabinet, came the order of floor test from the governor which was won by Palaniswami.

Subsequently, after the merger of the factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam—who was sworn in as deputy CM, and sidelining of Sasikala and her ‘trustworthy’ nephew Dhinakaran in August, the Raj Bhavan in Chennai was again a witness to another fresh demand for a floor test when 19 MLAs withdrew support to the CM.

Apparently Sasikala, Dinakaran and their support MLAs hated Jayalalithaa for not offering them ministerial berths and for her preference for OPS as officiating CM in her absence when in jail. But they could not oppose her decisions as she was all powerful leader of the AIADMK. After her death they have come out openly against OPS and incumbent CM EPS. .

That Rao termed the rebel group of MLAs as “an internal party affair” and refused to act against the government, which drew much flak as opposition parties accused the governor of delaying the next move during a “constitutional crisis.”

Now the court has stayed any floor test to probe majority of the ruling party.

 

Indecisiveness and silence

While the opposition parties in the southern state claimed that he was failing to uphold his “constitutional obligations and moral responsibility”, leader of the opposition and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin had said: “The governor Rao, a BJP leader,  is indulging in politics. We have been saying from the beginning that the Union government is behind everything that is happening in Tamil Nadu.”

With governor failing to call for a trust vote, the DMK moved the Madras HC. As batches of petitions are lying at the HC related to the current political crisis in the state, the court extended its earlier stay on holding a floor test in the Tamil Nadu assembly until further orders. The next hearing would come up on 4 October.

Sasikala-Dinakaran duo’s hectic operation to takeover both government and party, Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao’s supposed indecisiveness and the EC’s silence have escalated the political crisis in Tamil Nadu, roiled by uncertainty ever since the death of former CM J. Jayalalithaa on 5 December.- one day before the anniversary of demolition of Babri Mosque and the news about her sudden demise coincide with the black day  observation by Indian Muslims and other democratic secular sections of the country.

Rao’s refusal to convene the legislative assembly to test the majority of the state government, even after 18 MLAs of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) withdrew support to chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, and his claim that he can’t intervene in a “party’s issue” sparked controversy as opposition parties claimed that the governor was failing to uphold his “constitutional obligations and moral responsibility”. Rao had conveyed to leaders from the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi that the “ball was yet to come to his court”, as they met him to urge a trust vote.

Stalin had said that the governor was “indulging in politics”. “We have been saying from the beginning that the union government is behind everything that is happening in Tamil Nadu,” he said. Stalin also alleged that Rao was acting “in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is eyeing a back door entry into Tamil Nadu politics”. “(We have) never been in such a bad situation where a governor visits the state for mediating between the factions in a ruling party and then goes back”.

In February, after Panneerselvam–who was then the chief minister—denounced general secretary of AIADMK V.K. Sasikala as she attempted to dethrone him to emerge as the next heir of Jayalalithaa, the party was vertically split into two factions.

Subsequently, Sasikala was sent to a Bengaluru prison after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case. She named Palaniswami as CM and Dhinakaran as the deputy general secretary of the party.

While Panneerselvam was attempting to oust Sasikala and her family from the AIAMDK, Dhinakaran was jailed for allegedly bribing “unnamed” EC officials to retrieve the party’s two leaves symbol. Palaniswami, who was supporting Dhinakaran, decided to sideline him, leading to more chaos in the ruling party.

While the factions had sent “truck-loads” of affidavits to the EC earlier, to show their respective factions’ strengths, after last month’s merger, the united AIADMK said that it would “withdraw” the letters submitted earlier to retrieve the party symbol.

Sasikala was the respondent to the initial petition filed by the Panneerselvam faction and any “unilateral withdrawal” of the earlier complaint could mean that the Sasikala camp could end up owning the symbol. That won’t happen

Ever since the two warring factions of Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) decided to bury their hatchets. There has been deep trouble for the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government, which has already been sailing in rough waters.

Though the nomination of V.K. Sasikala as the general secretary had been challenged before the Election Commission (EC) and the matter, still pending with the commission, the merger was finalized on the grounds of keeping Sasikala and her nephew and deputy general secretary Dhinakaran out of AIADMK.

However, the sidelined Dinakaran had other plans, after he was released on bail in June. He was jailed for allegedly bribing “unnamed” EC officials to retrieve the party’s two leaves symbol and for cheating on foreign exchange. Dinakaran retaliated not just against the AIADMK leaders who had by then decided to keep him and his aunt out, but even against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been orchestrating the merger by attempting to eliminate the Sasikala family.

In fact, after several failed attempts and last-minute disagreements, the AIADMK merger was secured in the presence of S. Gurumurthy, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue and editor of Thughlak magazine. Najil Sampath from the Dhinakaran faction claimed that now Gurumurthy was the “de-facto chief minister” of the state. The BJP, which has been desperate to gain a foothold amid the political rumbles in the southern state, perhaps didn’t predict Dinakaran’s move.

Some commentators say the AIADMK merger has misfired and called it “political suicide”. A united AIADMK minus Sasikala family was BJP’s plan. But, they failed to understand that a large chunk of Sasikala supporters are anti-Jayalalithaa people.

Over the last few months, AIADMK members have swiftly swapped sides, shifted loyalties and indulged in mudslinging. There just a few supporters left for Sasikala-Dinakaran. A senior AIADMK leader from the Palaniswami camp had earlier said that the BJP was giving possible trouble to Tamil Nadu’s ruling party.

Meanwhile, Dinakaran, in order to prove his control over the party, began ‘removing’ over OPS-EPS loyalists and replaced them with his own supporters. Those removed, he said in a statement, included transport minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar. Also removed was revenue minister R.B. Udayakumar, others. All the announcements made had the “approval” of Dhinakaran’s aunt and AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala, who is in Bengaluru serving a four-year jail term after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case.

The retaliatory action to Dinakaran followed the merger between the EPS and OPS factions. Rajya Sabha MP R. Vaithilingam, who said that steps would be taken to remove Sasikala from the AIADMK, Dinakaran expelled him too from all posts in the party. OPS tweeted that the AIADMK government will “stand rigid for years.” “No one has the power to topple this government,” he added.

Opposition leader M.K. Stalin, who has been accusing the centre for threatening the AIADMK through “selective income tax raids”, blamed the BJP for holding “katta panchayats” (kangaroo courts) between factions of the AIADMK.

O. Panneerselvam suddenly became the face when he rebelled against Sasikala.  The BJP possibly thought they would enter into this unconquered bastion, through Panneerselvam, who failed to excel as a leader to match Jayalalithaa.  “Tamil Nadu government has surrendered itself to Delhi,” said Stalin.

More than eight months have passed since the demise of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, yet things are unsettled within the AIADMK. “After Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) demise, we haven’t had a strong leadership and the BJP is trying to sway control,” said a AIADMK leader. For the saffron party which has been attempting to unleash its prowess in the southern state, where it has a nil representation in the legislative assembly and one MP from the state

 

As Tamil Nadu politics stands reduced to a mere numbers game, the Palaniswami government is preparing the ground and making all attempts to reduce the assembly strength, to show a working majority, if at all a floor test happens. The court has stayed the floor test. Madras HC said no elections to 18 constituencies would be held now, obviously further complicating the government’s functioning legitimate entity. 

 

‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala in Chennai!

Meanwhile, Sasikala, who was recently evicted as chief of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK, has been granted 5-day parole by the Supreme Court to visit ailing husband, M Natarajan, 74. Her husband had a liver and kidney transplant. VK Sasikala installed herself as AIADMK chief after Jayalalithaa's death in December and ready to be the CM of the state  but  the Supreme Court sent her to jail in Bangalore. .

VK Sasikala left a Bengaluru prison on 06 October, nearly eight months after she was jailed for corruption, on five-day emergency parole to travel to Chennai and only visit her husband in hospital. Sasikala's husband had a liver and kidney transplant. He was admitted to hospital last month after multiple organ failure.

Ms Sasikala has been in jail since February after the Supreme Court upheld her conviction by a special court in a disproportionate assets case. Her relatives Ilavarasi and VN Sudhakaran are also serving four-year jail terms. Ms Sasikala's nephew and sidelined AIADMK leader Dhinakaran had also said in Chennai yesterday that she had applied for a 15-day parole to meet her ailing husband. There's of course her political agenda as well but it won’t work. .

In jail, Sasikala has remained in the news over allegations that she paid Rs. 2 crore for VIP facilities like special meals, a suite of rooms and a flat-screen TV.

Mrs Sasikala had applied for 15-day parole, seeking temporary release to attend to her ailing husband, M Natarajan, 74, who is in the liver intensive care unit of a hospital at a private hospital in Chennai since last month following kidney and liver failure. The jail superintendent had said earlier that the legal cell was considering her plea. The plea has been rejected on technical grounds. The paperwork was not done properly due to which the application has been rejected.  He was supposedly awaiting transplantation of a donor's liver and a kidney.

Although there are tough restrictions in place disallowing her from meeting people or addressing the media, political observers say she would still want to exploit this visit to recover some lost political ground.

Sasikala who enjoyed the comforts of Poes garden for many years, except when Jayalalalithaa threw her out of “wrong” operations from the CM’s Bungalow, tasting now the jail life. For the brief outing, Sasikala had to accept conditions; in Chennai, she has to live at the home of her sister-in-law Ilavarasi, who was also jailed with her. The 61-year-old also has been banned from any political activity or statements to the media.

Poor Sasikala the manipulator has also been told that she can't have visitors either at home or in the hospital.

Sasikala was the closest aide of Jayalalithaa and shared her upscale Poes Garden home in Chennai for decades. She installed herself as AIADMK chief after Jayalalithaa's death and was about to try and take over as Chief Minister in February when the Supreme Court sentenced her to four years in jail for corruption in a case dating back to the 1990s.

Recently evicted as chief of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK, Sasikala was denied parole earlier this week on account of "incomplete paperwork", say officials. Her nephew TTV Dhinakaran arrived this morning at the Bengaluru Central Prison with a group of supporters and waited till she came out, waved to the public and drove off in a car.

Sasikala and Dhinakaran were sidelined by the AIADMK recently in a power struggle that erupted days after former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's death in December. A section in the AIADMK that supports her is elated about her "homecoming". "Sasikala will only look after her husband like a good wife. She will not meet anyone, no political agenda, no strategizing," said Apsara Reddy, a spokesperson of her camp.

A faction headed by O Panneerselvam, which had broken away from the AIADMK over Sasikala's takeover, returned in August after the party resolved to distance itself from her and her nephew. One of the terms of the reunion was removal of both Sasikala and Dinakaran form the party once for all and Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden home, Veda Nilayam, will be turned into a memorial and judicial investigation into Jayalalithaa’s death. . Which means Poes garden is out of bounds for Sasikala, who had deliberately noted it down as her address in jail records.

A lot has changed since Sasikala left the Poes Garden residence in February as AIADMK chief for a jail in Bengaluru to serve the four year sentence in the assets case. At that time, large crowds dotted the posh area and at Jayalalithaa's memorial too to bid her goodbye.

Nearly eight months after she was jailed for corruption, VK Sasikala drove into her sister-in-law's house in Chennai, her home till Wednesday when her parole would end. But the homecoming would have been a disappointing sight for the former AIADMK chief, as only about 500 people had gathered to receive her. Among those waiting were a dozen women who came from the RK Nagar constituency which Jayalalithaa represented till her death.

Sasikala's visit to Chennai to visit her husband, who had a liver and kidney transplant, was seen by her supporters as a God sent opportunity for her to meet her loyalists and strategize. There was a buzz that many lawmakers and even a few ministers would meet her to prove their loyalty which could have shaken the morale of the EPS government whose majority has come under doubt.

 

“Chinnanna”  Dhinakaran- the problem boy for government and ruling party

 

A lot has changed since Sasikala left the Poes Garden residence in February as AIADMK chief for a jail in Bengaluru to serve the four year sentence in the assets case. At that time, large crowds dotted the posh area and at Jayalalithaa's memorial too to bid her goodbye.

Now, E Palaniswami, who she had handpicked to be her proxy chief minister as she was disqualified by the Apex Court and sent to jail  and she  teach a lesson to OPS, has broken bread with O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled against her. Sasikala has been sacked and the general secretary post she held in the AIADMK has been scrapped. After the merger of factions, O Panneerselvam or OPS has become the chief coordinator of the steering committee of the party while EPS occupies the next joint position. .

Sasikala's nephew Dhinakaran, who she had brought in and made her deputy in the party revoking Jayalalithaa's order, hasn't been able to keep the party under his control. Out of the 135 AIADMK legislators, just 18 MLAs stood with her and they too have been disqualified. The EPS government is confident of numbers even without her leadership.

The ruling AIADMK party’s 18 MLAs who enjoyed life at 5 Star hotels in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on Sasikala/Jayalalithaa’s wealth made illegally, they have already returned to their constituencies obviously to continue their profession of collecting briberies.

Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu called for a floor test as 18 legislators loyal to Dhinakaran, the sidelined deputy general secretary of the AIADMK, remained sequestered in a resort, shifting the spotlight to the governor of the crisis-ridden southern state. While the Congress also wrote to the governor demanding a floor test, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM has also demanded a trust vote.

Earlier, eighteen of the 19 Dhinakaran loyalists who withdrew support to chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS), continued to stay put at Windflower Resort in Puducherry for many days even as protests erupted by cadres of both the actions. Outside the resort some cadres burnt effigies of Dhinakaran, while rivals torched effigies of deputy chief minister O. Panneerselvam (OPS).

The legislators were packed off to the Puducherry sea resort hours after opposition leader and DMK working president M.K. Stalin wrote to the governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, urging him to direct EPS to prove his majority in the assembly “immediately” in order to avoid the “evil practice of horse-trading which occurred when the incumbent chief minister proved his majority on an earlier confidence motion in February”. “Any inordinate delay in asking the chief minister to prove his majority in the instant case will pave the way for continuance of an unconstitutional government and it will destabilize the democratic norms and precedents established in demonstrating the confidence of the house,” Stalin said.

Having got fully exposed as a failed manipulator Tamil Nadu politics who could not achieve her hidden agenda of taking over the AIADMK government and party by exploiting the void in the party after the sudden death of CM Jayalalithaa, “chinnamma” Sasikala is enjoying her 5day parole to spend time with her close   “little children” in Chennai where she and close aides have built a   wealthy empire through Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden bungalow.

Sasikala and Dinakaran and in fact entire Mannargudi mafia is out of the government and party. 

There is a saying that behind success of every woman is a man. Her husband Natarajan helped her get a parole for a few days to come out of jail and freely enjoy life at home in Chennai and give poses to waiting photographers.

 

Observation

Only in countries like India criminals and corrupt people are respected by the people perhaps as their fate. 

Tamil Nadu which has been witnessing political turmoil since the hospitalization of Jayalalithaa in September last year and chaos in the ruling AIADMK after her death in December, awaits the decision of the governor, who has been shuttling between Chennai and Mumbai as he is the governor of both Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The ruling party needs the support of 117 MLAs for a simple majority. But if the 19 MLAs stick to their withdrawal of support it could bring the government down. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress and Indian Union Muslim League together have 98 MLAs.

Though the factionalism between Palaniswami and Deputy CM O. Panneerselvam reached an end on 21 August, it paved the way for a fresh round of faction politics in the party. Dinakaran revolted against them.

While this crisis has been on for the last three weeks, a much more important issue has been pending before the Election Commission (EC) for over five months—the AIADMK’s disputed “two leaves” symbol and name.

A few ministers like Sellur Raju continue to praise Sasikala who has weakened the party and government by her secret agenda to take over both and failed.  This kind of pro-Sasikala statements could harm the government and won’t do any good. The by-poll for the R.K. Nagar constituency, which has been lying vacant since Jayalalithaa’s death on 5 December would take place any time and was later cancelled following allegations that money was used by Dinakaran to buy votes.

 

A decision by the EC will go a long way to sort out the confusion in the party and indicate who will lead the party, say observers.

There would be some change of wind in Tamil Nadu politics once the issue of party symbol  which now is likely to go to the ruling faction, is decided by the Election Commission. There is possibility that Dinakaran would like to rejoin the AIADMK to make it trouble-free within so that it could concentrate its full attention on the Opposition DMK, though many in the party would feel the party would perform better in the forthcoming polls, starting with local elections, without Sasikala and Dinakaran in it.  Dinakaran, they might argue, could sabotage the party fortunes in his own way. 

The next elections would be an acid test for the ruling AIADMK.

_____

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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