Tamil Nadu governor Rao to meet Palanisamy today, swearing-in likely

Outgoing Chief Minister O Panneersevlam on Thursday said his fight will continue against AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala and her family till the time J Jayalalithaa's regime is restored.

A 31-member AIADMK ministry headed by Edappadi K Palanisamy was sworn in by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao Thursday afternoon, bringing to an end the political uncertainty that prevailed in Tamil Nadu after the passing of J Jayalalithaa on 5 December previous year.

With this, Palaniswami became the third chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 10 months, thus capping the heightened drama and tussle for power triggered by former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa's death in December past year.

Palaniswami retained nearly all the ministers in the O Panneerselvam government, barring the ousted chief minister as well as education minister MF Pandiarajan who have rebelled against Sasikala. The governor gave Palanisamy time of 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. She died on December 5.

"It is evident from the good news we have got", he said, soon after the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Sasikala and two of her relatives for corruption charges.

While O Panneerselvam has managed to win over 10 odd MPs and some MLAs, Sasikala has been able to rally the support of an overwhelming majority of AIADMK MLAs. Further, she has fended off moves to take over Poes Garden residence, which her rival O.Panneerselvam vouched to convert into a memorial for late leader J Jayalalithaa. Sasikala was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from contesting an election. "This is a big duration and one can not understand why this window has been given", he said.

She skipped Tuesday's court hearing and instead stayed at a resort in Chennai with several dozen legislators over fears that Panneerselvam's camp might try and poach them before her investiture. The new claimant, Edapaddi Palanisami, who was elected leader of the AIADMK legislative party by MLAs, was a member of the House and was not in any way disqualified or likely to be ineligible.

Analysts said that it remains to be seen if Sasikala, like Ms Jayalalithaa, is able to retain her hold over the party while in jail.

Over the 40 years in the party, his clout in AIADMK saw a dramatic rise when it won 10 of 11 Assembly segments in Salem district in the 2016 polls. "I don't think the Congress MLAs have to necessarily vote against the trust motion", PCC chief Thirunavukkarasar told ET.

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