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Sasikala vs Panneerselvam: Tamil Nadu Governor reportedly weighing options before taking decision

AIADMK general secretary Sasikala met the Tamil Nadu governor at the Governor's House, Raj Bhavan in Chennai on Thursday. Photograph: (AFP)

WION New Delhi, India Feb 10, 2017, 05.58 PM (IST)

Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao's office has denied reports that he has decided against AIADMK general secretary Sasikala forming the government in the southern state.

Sasikala, a close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is currently involved in a power struggle with incumbent chief minister O Panneerselvam who says he has been forced to resign by the AIADMK general secretary.

"Ch Vidyasagar Rao, the Governor of Tamil Nadu has not sent any report either to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs or to the President of India as reported in some of the media," the Raj Bhavan release said.

A report in India Today had claimed that the Governor, in a report to the home ministry, said it would not be prudent of him to wait for a clearer picture before asking Sasikala to form the government in view of the pending disproportionate assets case against her.

Excerpts from the report published by India Today state that the Governor also took note of the fact that Sasikala was not a legislator and will have to become one within six months if she is made chief minister.

NDTV quoted sources as saying that the Governor would prefer to wait for a verdict in a corruption case against Sasikala, before he invites her to form a government. The verdict is expected next week.

The NDTV report also said that the Governor has gone through multiple court judgements and is studying provisions of the Constitution closely to help him make his decision.

Panneerselvam, meanwhile, refused to comment on the speculation that the Governor had decided against Sasikala.

"Wait and see," said Panneerselvam when asked to comment on the rumours that the Governor did not want the AIADMK general secretary to take over as chief minister because of the pending court cases against her.

Panneerselvam was appointed as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu within hours of the death of his predecessor J Jayalalithaa on December 5. He was also the acting chief minister during Jayalalithaa's stay in hospital.

Sasikala, a close aide of Jayalalithaa, was appointed the general secretary of the AIADMK after the death of the former chief minister and AIADMK general secretary.

Panneerselvam resigned from the chief minister's post on February 5 citing "personal reasons". Sasikala was elected the AIADMK's head in the state legislature the same day. 

On February 8, Panneerselvam said he had been forced to resign by Sasikala and pledged to prove his strength in the Assembly.

He currently has the support of five of the party's 134 legislators including that of AIADMK No 2 Madhusudhanan, who switched camps recently.

Sasikala has staked her claim to the government with the support of the remaining 129 legislators, most of whom are reportedly lodged in a resort in the state. Panneerselvam has alleged that some signatures were forged and that the legislators are being held in captivity.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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