Sasikala sacks senior leader Madhusudanan as presidium chairman of AIADMK

The spotlight in Tamil Nadu on Friday is on governor Vidyasagar Rao as AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala stakes claim to form the government. Acting chief minister O Panneerselvam dug his heels in and said “dharma” will triumph.

Both Sasikala and Panneerselvam met the governor separately at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai. According to an AIADMK statement issued late at night, Sasikala handed over documents electing her as the leader of the legislature party. But this statement did not specify the number of legislators supporting her, reports IANS.

Panneerselvam, who was named the chief minister after J Jayalalithaa’s death in December, quit on February 5, clearing the way for Sasikala’s elevation to the state’s top job. The governor accepted his resignation the next day but on Wednesday Panneerselvam revolted, saying he was forced to resign and was willing to reconsider his decision.

3:05pm: Opposition leader Stalin says DMK is against President’s Rule in Tamil Nadu, according to TV reports.

Former TN governor K Rosaiah tells PTI on Friday Rao doesn’t necessarily need to take into consideration Sasikala’s claim that she has the support of a majority to invite for forming the government.

3pm: After MLAs families’ approached court, Tamil Nadu DGP Rajendran directs district superintendent to search the Golden Beach resort — the ECR hotel where the 130 AIADMK lawmakers have been holed up by the Sasikala camp.

2:30pm: MLA Ramalingam says the majority supports ‘Chinamma’ Sasikala:

K V Lakshmana @kvlakshman
MLA Ramalingam lodged at sea side resort said “we will come out only after governor takes his decision” Majority supporting Chinnamma
2:26 PM – 10 Feb 2017
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Another AIADMK leader Ratnaswami says the Tamil Nadu governor can call “us anytime, that is why we all have assembled at one place”.

2:24pm: AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi alleges that she was getting threatening phone calls and messages and that she has recorded them. “They are calling me, that have distributed my number on WhatsApp. They say if you don’t support OPS, I should leave the party. My life is in danger.”

She accuses Panneerselvam’s camp of trying to split the party. “It will never happen, all real cadres are here, all loyal to Jayalalithaa are here.” Saraswathi reiterates claim that it is the opposition DMK that was behind Panneerselvam’s revolt.

2:20pm: Madhusudanan responds that no one has the authority to remove him, as Sasikala’s election as AIADMK general secretary itself is flawed.

He writes to the Election Commission, rejecting his expulsion from AIADMK: TV reports

2:15pm: A day after switching sides to the Panneerselvam camp, E Madusudanan has been removed from his post as presidium chairman and from primary membership of AIADMK, the party tweets. KA Sengottayan appointed in his place.

E.Madusudhanan removed from his post as presidium chairman and from primary membership of AIADMK.
2:16 PM – 10 Feb 2017
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2:00pm: IANS reports that Tamil Nadu police have withdrawn security at the Madras Centenary Hall, where the swearing-in was meant to be take place.

Soon after AIADMK legislators elected Sasikala as the leader of the legislature party, preparatory work for her swearing-in began at the hall and police were deployed. But because of the uncertainty, this has been put on hold.

1:40pm: Six MLAs at Golden Bay resort permitted to speak to media, assert that they were there on their own free will and rubbish talk that they were ‘detained’.

With several habeas corpus petitions filed in the Madras high court on the legislators ‘held’ at the resort, the MLAs met reporters outside to dismiss the rumours. “MLAs cannot be kept hostage. Sasikala is treating us like how Jayalalithaa treated us,” said one of them, Murugumaran.

“We are not birds being kept in a cage,” added another legislator. They accused the DMK of spreading rumours that legislators backing Sasikala were being held hostage.

1:20pm: Another senior AIADMK leader joins Panneerselvam. Extending support to the caretaker chief minister, E Ponnusamy said it was Panneerselvam who was identified by Jayalalithaa as the heir and appealed to other MLAs to join him.

A former PMK leader and a minister of state in the NDA regime during 1999-2001, Ponnusamy had joined AIADMK in 2013 in the presence of Jayalalithaa, reports PTI.

1:15pm: AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusudanan writes to Election Commission, tells them not to accept Sasikala as general secretary of the party. He defected to Panneerselvam’s camp on Thursday.

12:55pm: Police officers are likely to visit the Golden Bay resort, to where 130 AIADMK MLAs were taken by Sasikala, on Panneerselvam’s orders.

12:45pm: SM Das Pandian, AIADMK MLA came out of the resort, tells a Tamil news channel that no one had taken away their phones and that they had switched it off themselves.

12:30pm: Home minister Rajnath Singh speaks in Uttar Pradesh on the political crisis in Tamil Nadu, says: “Governor is the constitutional head of the state, it is his prerogative to take decisions.” On the demand for a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death, Rajnath said his ministry would consider the demand if it came from the late chief minister’s family.

12:15pm: O Panneerselvam and his supporters speak to reporters. “Only O Panneerselvam can save Tamil Nadu. Only he can take forward Jayalalithaa’s legacy,” a TV channel quotes an MLA as saying.

ANI ✔ @ANI_news
Chennai: O Panneerselvam felicitated by his supporters. #TamilNadu
12:23 PM – 10 Feb 2017 · New Delhi, India
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11:35am: The Madras high court has asked the Tamil Nadu police to file an affidavit on MLAs lodged at a resort outside Chennai. The meeting between the DGP and Tamil Nadu governor is still underway.

11:30am: AIADMK MLA B Valarmathi tells ANI that all MLAs lodged in the resort have willingly switched off their mobile phones as they were getting threatening phone calls.

11:00am: Governor Vidyasagar Rao meets the director general of police TK Rajendran for discussions. Sources told HT that the DGP arrived at Raj Bhavan at 10.40 am. Tamil Nadu chief secretary Girija Vaidyanathan is also understood to be calling on Governor Vidyasagar Rao in a short while.

K V Lakshmana @kvlakshman
Tamil Nadu DGP TK Rajendran has been summoned to Raj Bhavan for discussions. Sources: Governor may enquire about MLAs detention at a resort
11:46 AM – 10 Feb 2017
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10:45am: Supreme Court declines urgent hearing of PIL seeking to restrain VK Sasikala from taking oath as the chief minister till they have made a decision on the disproportionate assets case. The top court is expected to deliver a judgment in the Rs 63 crore DA case next week.

“Sorry. Declined,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud said when the lawyer sought urgent listing and hearing.

10:15am: Meeting of Tamil Nadu Congress leaders with Rahul Gandhi underway at his residence, reports ANI. The Congress is keeping a close watch on the developments in the southern state. There is also a divide in the Tamil Nadu Congress over supporting VK Sasikala or O Panneerselvam for the CM’s post.

10:05am: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says the governor has “woken up to his duties as a constitutional authority”.

“Pannerselvam didn’t give any list of MPs or MLAs who are supporting him. He didn’t stake any claim. He just wants his resignation to be withdrawn. But, it has already been accepted. How can he do this? It’s like putting toothpaste back in the tube,” Swamy told ANI.

10:00am: There are reports coming in that the MLAs, said to be unhappy over being ‘confined’ at a luxury resort where they were brought two days ago, would be broken up into smaller groups and shifted to other locations.