It’s official: Governor Vidyasagar Rao has made up his mind to call Edappadi Palaniswami to form the government in Tamil Nadu. He will be sworn in on Thursday evening, but the drama isn’t over just yet.
Sasikala’s chosen man now has 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
While Edappadi Palaniswami and the rest of the Sasikala camp have been claiming that they have the support of 126 MLAs, the OPS camp has insisted that if the MLAs were allowed to go out of Golden Bay resorts, they would flock to his side.
The ultimate test of their claims will be held in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. If Palaniswami can prove that he has a majority in the House, he will remain the Chief Minister until the next elections.
But if Palaniswami fails the floor test, the political game will be up in the air once again.
What is a floor test?
The Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly - P Dhanapal - will now have to convene a session after Palaniswami is sworn in. Once the session is convened, one member will have to move a confidence motion, and the motion must be seconded by at least one other person.
Once the motion is passed, it can be followed by a debate, and then a division of votes. The Speaker can either decide to take a voice vote (where MLAs shout ‘Aye’ or ‘No’), or he can ask them to stand for their vote and count the heads.
Sources are telling TNM that there is no possibility of a secret ballot in the provisions of TN Assembly.
The strength of the TN Assembly right now is 234, after Jayalalithaa’s demise. If more than half the number of MLAs present and vote for the confidence motion, Palaniswami will remain the Chief Minister,
If the DMK remains in the House, that number will be 118. If the opposition party decides to abstain, Palaniswami will need 74 MLAs to prove his majority.
In case the ayes and noes are in equal number, the role of the Speaker becomes extremely crucial, because he will then be able to cast his vote for either side.
Whether Edappadi Palaniswami will be able to put his MLAs where his mouth is will be seen as soon as the Assembly is convened.