Court’s Nod For AIADMK Meet Meant To Sack VK Sasikala. With a Rider.


Chennai: A united AIADMK meeting of Tamil Nadu – expected to sack its imprisoned leader VK Sasikala – will be held on Tuesday as scheduled, Madras High Court has ruled. On Monday, the court dismissed a request from a lawmaker loyal to Sasikala and his nephew TTV Dhinakaran – the number 2 marginalized AIADMK – calling for an end to Tuesday’s General Council. Legislator V Vetrivel, who filed the petition, has been fined with Rs. 1 lakh to lose court time.

But there is a postscript: Any decision by the General Council, the court said, will be subject to its decision, which may be announced at the next hearing on Oct. 23.

Earlier Monday, a Bengaluru court had put a freeze on the meeting in response to another request from Sasikala’s loyalists.

The united AIADMK, led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his predecessor, O Panneerselvam, said they would adhere to the Madras High Court order.

The expulsion of Sasikala has been one of the key conditions for the merger of the PAHO-led faction, as Mr. Pannerselvam is popularly known. But the attempt to execute it has led the Palaniswami government to the brink of crisis.

Mr Dhinakaran, who claims to have the support of 19 lawmakers, has joined his voice to the DMK opposition to say that Mr Palaniswami no longer commands the majority in the assembly and must be put to a vote of confidence.

Last week, Mr. Dhinakaran met Governor Vidyasagar Rao for the second time to demand that he convene the assembly for a floor test. The problem soared hours after the two factions were tightened last month. The loyal Dhinakaran rebelled, met with the Governor and demanded that he replace the Chief Minister.

DMK chief MK Stalin, who met with the governor on Sunday, says that along with Mr. Dhinakaran, they have 119 lawmakers. The halfway mark in the 234-member assembly since the death of former CM J Jayalalithaa amounts to 117.

AIADMK’s largest faction led by the Chief Minister says they have the covert support of nine lawmakers from the Dhinakaran camp and therefore a figure of the majority of 124.