Thursday, February 16, 2017

Right decision, but belated

Tamil Nadu Governor has taken right decision by inviting Sasikala loyalist Edapadi Palaniswamy to form govt. He is going to be sworn-in as CM of Tamil Nadu this evening i.e. on Thursday 4.30 PM. Though the decision of the Governor is belated, it appears that when he became convinced about the number on the basis of the signature by 123 AIADMK MLAs support to Sasikala's nominee E Palaniswami's candidature for the leader of the legislative assembly, he invited him to be sworn-in as CM. Governor has given him 15 days' time to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly. He appears to gone by the number, which is also the right criterion for invitation to the legislative party leader to form the govt. OPS may have claimed that he has overwhelming support of the people of the state and he represents Amma in AIADMK politics in the true sense of the term, but as far as number of supporting MLAs is concerned, he is far behind the majority support. He had reportedly submitted the signature of only 10 MLAs to the Governor. But he claims that if the party MLAs kept in the protective custody in Golden Resort by Sasikala, before being sent to jail by the Supreme Court in Disproportionate Assets case freed, they would flock to his camp. If his claim holds water, he can show it on the day of vote confidence to be sought by Paliniswamy in the assembly within 15 days. Paliniswamy has been one the most trusted lieutenants of J Jayalaliththa and he is also Sasikala’s loyalist. When AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala was held guilty in Disproportionate Assets case and awarded four years of jail by the Supreme Court, her hope to become the CM was dashed to the ground. Before going to jail, she appointed Paliniswamy as the leader of legislative party and Diwakaran her nephew as the Deputy General Secretary of the party. She had already expelled OPS from the party.It clearly means she intends to rule the state and the party from the jail through her proxies. The formula of rule by proxy is not new in the politics of the nation. It was for the first time when Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was sent to jail in Fodder scam case, he had brought his wife Rabri Devi straight from the kitchen and put her on the chair of Chief Minister. First he got her elected as the leader of the legislative party, then she staked claim before the governor to be sworn-in as CM. Lalu went to jail and she became the Chief Minister of Bihar. He ruled the state from jail through none other than his wife Rabri Devi as proxy. So, it appears that Sasikala has played the same game. But there is also a wide difference between the political scenario of Bihar and Tamil Nadu. Former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD supremo has always been one of the most popular leaders of the country. He is a mass leader while Sasikala's political identity is only that she has been a close aide of Jayalalithaa. She is not a leader of the people in Tamil Nadu. She claims to be the most suitable person to carry forward the legacy of Amma only because she lived with Jaya in Poes Garden residence and was treated as her sister. That is right. But as far political succession is concerned, it can only be decided by the people of Tamil Nadu. Paliniswamy may win the vote of confidence in the assembly, but the real test will be in the assembly elections. As far the claim of O Panerselvam on the legacy of Jayalaliththa is concerned, he has been one of her most trusted political lieutenants. Whenever she had to vacate the chair of CM either because of adverse court judgement or ill-health, she nominated OPS to rule the state in her absence. He has carried out the responsibility twice. OPS himself is a leader of the people in his own right. Sasikala nominee Paliniswamy may win the vote of confidence, but the battle for inheriting Jaya's legacy will go on until the assembly elections are held. The command of the government will only be established by a fresh mandate. In the assembly of 234 members in Tamil Nadu, Jaya's AIADMK had 134. So, at least 117 MLAs are required to show majority in the assembly. Otherwise, state will be put under President's Rule.

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