By K.Venkataramanan/The Hindu
Amid the fast developing political activities and turmoil inTamil Nadu concerning the AIADMK government, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and party general secretary V.K. Sasikala, many questions have been raised about the political future of the State.
Here are some queries and answers to them:
- If Panneerselvam withdraws his resignation, can the Governor accept that now?
The Governor has already accepted his resignation. However, if the Chief Minister says he resigned under duress, the Governor may ascertain if he enjoys a majority in the House.
- How many MLAs does Panneerselvam need to stake claim to form new government?
Any chief minister requires 117 MLAs to command a majority (the present House has 233 members after Jayalalithaa’s death)
- What about the government now?
The present regime is still functioning because the Governor has asked the Panneerselvam Cabinet to continue until alternative arrangements are made.
- Is President ‘s rule possible?
President’s rule is possible if the Governor feels there is a breakdown of the constitutional machinery.
- What now of V.K. Sasikala’s plans to become chief minister? What if she backtracks?
We will have to see how the situation unfolds. As of now, the Governor can swear her in based on the AIADMK legislature party electing her. However, in the light of the latest developments, the Governor will be justified in seeking to ascertain who commands a majority.
- With Sasikala as general secretary, is it possible for her to expel Panneerselvam from party?
Yes. She can do that. But the real issue is he is caretaker Chief Minister until another is sworn in. That is in the Governor’s hands
- What will the Governor do now? What about his discretionary powers?
The Governor has the discretion to appoint as chief minister anyone who, in his opinion, is in a position to command a majority in the legislature. However, in the light of conflicting claims, he may wait and watch the developments.
- Could DMK support Panneerselvam till the next election?
Yes, it is possible, but whether such support will continue till the next election, which is more than four years away, cannot be said now.
- What about the anti-defection law now?
Under the present anti-defection law, a legislature party cannot split. Two-thirds of a party can merge with another. The AIADMK has 135 members, and therefore, 90 members will be required to make any such move.
Here’s some background on the law:
The Anti-defection law, enacted in 1985 and amended in 2003, lays down strict rules against legislators switching parties.
- If any elected member — from a recognised political party or an independent — joins another party he or she will attract provisions of the law and is liable to be disqualified by the presiding officer of the said legislature.
- The law will not apply to presiding officers if they decide to sever links with the party on whose ticket they were elected.
- If not less than two-thirds of the members (MLAs or MPs) decide to merge with another party then no disqualification will be incurred.
(The featured picture at the top shows the present contenders V.K.Sasikala and O.Panneerselvam)