Tamil Nadu's opposition party moves court over legality of stormy trust vote

Stalin, a senior member of the opposition group the DMK, has called the acrimonious confidence vote to select the next chief minister as illegal. (Courtesy image: Wikimedia commons) Photograph:( Others )

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Feb 20, 2017, 07.43 AM (IST)

The game of thrones saga in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu continues to rumble on as the opposition party told a high court that the trust vote conducted to choose the next chief minister was unconstitutional.

DMK has argued that the trust vote is invalid because the trust vote was introduced twice in the house.

Tamil Nadu has been a cesspool of ugly politics in recent days as the ruling AIADMK party was riven by infighting over the next political head of the state.

But the bedlam that ensued in the state assembly on Saturday (February 18) -- the day of the trust vote -- capped off a week of tumult in Tamil politics. 

KC Palaniswami, who is close to the now-jailed party chief VK Sasikala, won the trust vote by winning support of 122 lawmakers.

On the day of the confidence vote, the DMK asked the speaker to conduct the process via a secret ballot, arguing this would reveal deep divisions in the ruling party.

But when their plea was turned down, the DMK led a vociferous protest in the house and were caught on camera heckling the speaker, forcing the assembly to be adjourned multiple times.

The trust vote took place once all the DMK-affiliated lawmakers were barred from entering the house.

The DMK since has viewed the trust vote as being illegal.

The political bomb started ticking in Tamil Nadu when the then chief minister O Panneerselvam stepped down from his post, which was initially viewed by the commentariat as him paving the way for AIADMK chief Sasikala.

But 48 hours later, the situation spiralled out of control when Panneerselvam said he was forced to resign by party members.

Soon, the AIADMK was split in the middle: one faction backing Sasikala and the other Panneerselvam.

But days later, India's highest court scythed Sasikala's bid to become the next chief minister as she was convicted for four years on corruption charges.

But before Sasikala was jailed, she anointed Palaniswami to be fight in her place.

The vanquished Panneerselvam camp, meanwhile, has continued to fight on and promised to raise the issue with the governor of the state.