Chennai: Chaos reigned ahead of the floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Saturday after the Dravida Munntera Kazhgam, Congress, and the O Panneerselvam’s faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam demanded a secret ballot.
The MLAs started to shout slogans minutes after Speaker P Dhanapal started to address the House. Meanwhile, the OPS camp also appointed S Semmalai the new AIADMK chief whip. On Friday, former AIADMK presidium chief E Madhusudhanan had expelled Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, party general secretary VK Sasikala and deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, from the party.
All India Congress Committee President Rahul Gandhi has directed the eight Congress MLAs to vote against Palaniswami’s AIADMK government. On Friday, state Congress President S Thirunavukkarasar told reporters he was awaiting directions from the party headquarters and that their eight MLAs will attend the trust vote. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said its 89 MLAs and the Indian Union Muslim League’s lone MLA said they would vote against Palaniswami during the floor test.
Palaniswami was sworn in as Tamil Nadu chief minister on Thursday along with 31 state Cabinet ministers, more than 10 days after ousted leader O Panneerselvam had resigned from the post and later requested Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to allow him to withdraw his resignation.
The four-time MLA from Edappadi, Salem district, had told Rao that he had the support of 123 legislators. Palanisamy was elected the AIADMK’s legislative party leader after General Secretary VK Sasikala was convicted in a disproportionate assets case.
The crisis in the state had begun after Sasikala was announced the next chief minister and Panneerselvam had resigned after a meeting of AIADMK legislators. Panneerselvam had then revolted against Sasikala, who was an aide of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam appointed Semmalai as its new chief on Saturday.