AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala may just spring a surprise “plan B” if the governor continues to delay inviting her to form the government, party sources have said.
According to them, she might pick KA Sengottaiyan – who was recently appointed as the party’s presidium chairman – or powerful minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami to checkmate chief minister O Panneerselvam, who has emerged as a hero after his revolt against Sasikala.
Much to the detriment of Sasikala in their battle for power, Panneerselvam has increasingly been consolidating support from party members and – more importantly – the masses.
Sengottaiyan, however, categorically denied that he was a chief ministerial candidate. Asserting that he was completely behind Sasikala, the party official said, “We will not rest until we make her the chief minister.”
This remains the official line of the party, even though certain sources indicate that there could be an eleventh-hour replacement if there was further delay in getting the all-important invite from Raj Bhavan.
Governor C Vidyasagar Rao reportedly wants to wait for the Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate assets case, in which Sasikala is an accused, before taking any concrete action. Sources say the court might pronounce its order on Tuesday.
Constitutional experts believe waiting for the verdict would present the governor with a window of discretionary power to arrive at a considered view on the issue. Sasikala, however, has hit out against the governor – accusing him of deliberately delaying the swearing-in ceremony in an attempt to divide the AIADMK.
“The AIADMK is strongly united, and won’t split irrespective of how much people try,” Sasikala told mediapersons in a brief interaction on Sunday, before setting off for the Golden Bay resort.
AIADMK members supportive of Sasikala have been housed at the resort to prevent possible poaching by Panneerselvam’s backers.