OPS vs. VKS show- Tamil Nadu’s theatre of the absurd
Theatre of the absurd is on play in Chennai with the political situation in a state of flux as Governor Vidyasagar Rao while professing to go by the text book has given an unsolicited breathing space to O Pannierselvan, the acting chief minister and thus made V K Sasikala to rejig her plans to take over as chief minister.
The Chinnamma has hit upon a two track strategy - one an indefinite fast at the Amma Memorial; two – nominate one of the loyalists AIADMK as the chief ministerial candidate. The time line for executing the strategy is unclear at the time of filing the report.
Limited OPS Gains
Strangely, OPS has very much little to show by way of any gains on the poaching front. He has been netting Lok Sabha members, the latest tally is ten out of 50 but he has failed to break the Sasikala ranks even after taking recourse to the social media with the tag line “OPS is Amma Choice; People want him to continue”.
The latest MPs to switch sides are Senguttuvan from Vellore and Jayasingh of Tuticorin. Senior AIADMK leader and former minister P Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy.
Education Minister M Pandiarajan extended support to Panneerselvam on Saturday thereby becoming the first cabinet minister to do so. As of now OPS has the backing of just seven MLAs.
If OPS gets another 11MLAs to his side, it will spell doom to VKS and she will not be able to form the government on her own. If wishes are horses, OPS camp should get at least 25 per cent of the party MLAs by Tuesday. Indian Express reported but this appears as a tall order at the moment.
No Early End
The curtains are not going to come down on OPS- VKS show too soon. This is because the Supreme Court is not giving its long pending verdict on Sasikala’s assets case on Monday as many expected. The court’s cause list - the cases to be taken up – for Monday, Feb 13, doesn’t mention her case, Times of India reported.
Now if this report turns out to be true it will be firmly place the Modi government in Sasikala’s line of fire. And make the governor Vidyasagar Rao an object of ridicule. She is already targeting him and accusing him of deliberate inaction to facilitate OPS plans to split the AIADMK.
Congress In Fix
Rajbhavan however is sticking to its guns that the governor is not constitutionally bound to invite a leader who is not a member of the assembly, to form the government, more so when there is a visible split in the party.
The Congress also will find the going tough. The party leadership in New Delhi has not yet responded to Sasikala’s entreaties for support.
The Eight lawmakers of Congress will be crucial to shore up Chinnamma numbers as and when a floor test is ordered since at least half a dozen of the AIADMK MLAs held as guests in a resort are expected to switch loyalties on the floor of the Assembly. Interestingly, Congress leaders like Palaniappan Chidambaram have thrown their weight behind the Governor, arguing that Rajbhavan should not act in haste.
VKS – “Not Scared”
On their part, DMK, the immediate gainer of a split in AIADMK ranks and the BJP, the medium distance runner with no stakes in today’s Dravidian politics are keeping their powder dry, though from the sidelines.
Sasikala camp is putting up a brave face. “Amma is here with us, showing us who the traitors are. I have the support of the entire party… why should I be scared?,” said Sasikala, in her interaction with the supporters, who had gathered at the Poes Garden residence of the late J Jayalalithaa, where she continues to live.
OPS are working overtime in the meantime to dislodge Sasikala from the Amma Home. His plan is simple: Declare the Amma Home - Vedanilayam (named after Vedavalli, Jaya’s mother) as a memorial.