AIADMK crisis: Supreme Court to decide Sasikala's fate in disproportionate assets case today
If convicted, Sasikala will be disqualified from contesting any election for six years. Photograph: (AFP)
The Supreme Court will decide on the disproportionate assets case today in which former Tamil Nadu chief minister the late J Jayalalithaa and three others, including Sasikala, are named.
The make-or-mar judgement for Sasikala is likely to be delivered at 10:30 am IST, according to the Supreme Court cause list of cases to be taken up by it today.
Since former chief minister J Jayalalithaa is dead, the case against her will not go ahead but the other accused, Sasikala and her relatives VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, will be subject to the Supreme Court verdict. They were convicted by a trial court, but acquitted by the Karnataka High Court.
Sasikala is locked in a bitter battle for leadership of the AIADMK against interim chief minister O Panneerselvam, the Supreme Court verdict will be crucial for both leaders as they try to wrestle control over the leadership of the AIADMK which is in power in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the Indian government's chief legal advisor and the primary lawyer of India's top court has asked the governor of Tamil Nadu C. Vidyasagar Rao to hold a floor test in the state assembly to determine the next chief minister of the state.
The Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi, said both deserved an equal chance.
The ruling AIADMK party has been cleaved into two factions, with one bloc supporting late party chief J Jayalalithaa's close aide VK Sasikala and the other backing O Panneerselvam, who was until a few days back the head of the local government in Tamil Nadu. The political bedlam started when Panneerselvam claimed that AIADMK leaders put pressure on him to step down from the chief ministerial in order to pave way for Sasikala to become the next head.
Sasikala has stationed a bulk of AIADMK MLAs at a resort in Chennai and is hoping for a call-up from the Tamil Nadu governor C. Vidyasagar Rao to showcase her strength, if the Supreme Court verdict goes in her favour tomorrow she will put more pressure on the governor to allow her to take the floor test.
Earlier in the day, AIADMK general secretary Sasikala hit out against Panneerselvam, declaring she knew how "to manage any number of enemies".
The AIADMK general secretary said,"After Jayalalithaa's death, I told him to become the chief minister. I have been with Amma(Jayalalithaa) for 33 years and I am used to threats. What is happening now is not new."
Speaking to reporters from the AIADMK headquarters at Poes Garden, Sasikala said that party cadres were with her and "with Amma's(Jayalalithaa's) blessings, an AIADMK government will be in place".
Early on Sunday, four Lok Sabha members—Jaisingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee (Thoothukudi), B Senguttuvan (Vellore), RP Marutharaja (Perambalur) and S Rajendran (Villupuram)—and Rajya Sabha member R Lakshmanan switched over from Sasikala to Panneerselvam's camp as the fight over the control of the party continued between the two leaders.