OPS’s rebellion: Most MLAs stand by Sasikala, cadre support for OPS grows

While very few leaders were seen at OPS’s home, there is a groundswell for him – but will he be able to get enough support from MLAs to win over Sasikala?
OPS’s rebellion: Most MLAs stand by Sasikala, cadre support for OPS grows
OPS’s rebellion: Most MLAs stand by Sasikala, cadre support for OPS grows

Soon after caretaker CM O Panneerselvam announced at Marina that he was forced to resign as the CM and vacate the chair for Sasikala, hundreds of supporters gathered at his residence late into Tuesday night and in the wee hours of Wednesday.

But does OPS have enough support on the floor of the TN Assembly to win over Sasikala?

Just as enthusiastic supporters of OPS got together at his home at Greenways Road and social media erupted in support for him, VK Sasikala spoke to the media and said that “all MLAs are together as one family” and with her.

At Greenways road, hardly any MLAs were seen. The only prominent leaders who arrived were former Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan and Solavandan MLA K Manickam.

Meanwhile, back at Poes Garden, there was hectic activity. Nearly every MLA was shepherded to Veda Nilayam, some in cars owned by Sasikala’s family.

AIADMK MP Thambidurai, firmly in the Sasikala camp, told TNM that except for one MLA who was in ill health, all AIADMK MLAs were present at Poes Garden. He also said that they had expected this ‘treachery’ after media reports said that OPS was ‘under pressure’.

Reporters on the ground sensed that the Sasikala camp had got a whiff of the rebellion by late Tuesday evening and had started preparing for it.

OPS needs at least 117 MLAs to stake claim now. Sources in his camp and his supporters claim that he has between 20 and 40 MLAs by his side, but those could be exaggerated.

In such a scenario, there are four immediate possibilities. One, the Governor keeps the Assembly in suspended animation and imposes the President’s rule, two, the Governor dissolves the Assembly and imposes a President’s rule, three, Sasikala is asked to prove her strength on the floor of the house, and four, the Governor allows OPS to withdraw his resignation and he continues has CM.

If he continues as CM, Sasikala is likely to engineer a no-confidence motion against him and he would have to defeat it.

Meanwhile, the political finger pointing has begun. The AIADMK has accused the DMK of plotting to split their party, and the CPI and CPI(M) have said that there is BJP’s hand behind the rebellion.

Whoever he is backed by, OPS staged the rebellion due to a combination of different factors, but for now, he has to work on getting more MLAs on his side. However, one important thing he seems to have achieved is the delay in Sasikala’s swearing-in. With the SC verdict on the DA case round the corner, the going is getting tough for Sasikala.

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