I don’t know what’s happening in Tamil Nadu is good or bad, from the time of Jallikattu protests, but, the reality is that, whatever is happening in Tamil Nadu is a very good excercise over Indian Constitution and politics for Indian public in general and Tamil people in particular. Have a look at how this played out.
1. Party appoints Sasikala as the proterm General Secretary
2. Paneerselvam resigns as Chief Minister, Sasikala selected as head of legislature party
3. PH Pandian convenes a press conference castigating Sasikala
4. Paneerselvam rebels against the party and declares that he is forced to resign
5. Both of them stake their claims, Governor says, let’s hold on the selection for a while.

After the rebellion of Paneerselvam at 10 PM, all MLAs and MPs started coming to Poes Garden Residence of Jayalalitha and by the time of a press conference at 2 in the night, she was able to claim the support of almost 130 MLAs out of 135 and all the MPs except one. Tambidurai was very vocal opposing Sasikala. When Paneerselvam rebelled, there was a literal explosion in his support on the roads. Instead of the scheduled 6 minutes, it took him 1 hour for him to reach home. That translated to absolute support online, which resulted in the migration of the majority of the IT wing of AIADMK to migrate to Paneerselvam’s camp.
With the Governor unreachable, Paneerselvam started gaining ground. First to join him was Dr. Maitreyan, a Rajya Sabha MP from the party comes vocal in support. The next bigwig to join him is Madhusoodhanan, the second in command of AIADMK, it’s presidium chairman jumps the ship.
Sasikala, in the meanwhile, flocks all the MLAs together into a single location, decides to takes them to Delhi. In the meanwhile, news comes out that the Governor is coming. With this, the MPs move to Delhi but the MLAs stay put.
Paneerselvam was the one who was firing all the while and Sasikala was in defence. That, may be, a main reason why Sasikala is on the backfoot. Had she been on the offence, may be, things will be different. Look at the gameplay.
1. Paneerselvam sacked as party treasurer. Paneerselvam shoots off a letter to the banks locking the bank accounts.
2. Madhusoodhanan switches camp. He shoots off a letter to Election Commission invalidating Sasikala’s elevation as General Secretary. Sasikala removes him from party. The party constitution itself is an interesting read.
3. Paneerselvam orders a commission over Jaya’s death
4. The bureaucracy changed because of CM shift is restored back
5. Paneerselvam declares that Jayalalitha’s Poes Garden residency will be made a memorial.
6. Chennai Police Head, who is formally the incharge for Marina Beach evictions is shunted out.
7. A twitter blitz is launched, the highlight being Call Your MLA. The MLAs are being flooded with calls. Anyone who opposed this was trolled absolutely – either as a tweet reply or even as a call record clip posted. This raised a debate over right to recall. It’s possible that one of those trolled the most switched sides, unable to bear the torture.
8. The person running this campaign tweeted suddenly, Sasikala’s men are searching for him for initiating the campaign and went offline for six hours. This resulted in an increase in the level of online support to Paneerselvam.
7. The MLA from Srivaikuntham escapes from ‘captivity’ and joins Paneerselvam camp. This is potrayed as kidnap online. Habeas Corpus were filed left right and centre for the missing MLAs.
8. The resort where the MLAs are held is raided by police.

The situation is thus. Sasikala has got the support of the masses. Paneerselvam got the support of the bosses – himself, the only one with CM experience, the head of the party’s legal bench, the senior most party functionary and the most educated in the party – Maitreyan is an oncologist.

Governor invited both, Paneerselvam went first and Sasikala, next. There was a deafening silence from the Governor for a day. Next evening, the news was that Governor put the selection on hold. This is another lesson on the constitution.

Article 164(1) – The chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor
Article 164(4) – A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister

Since Sasikala got a majority, she should be given a chance as per 164(1). But, because there is a pending judgement, there is a possibility that 164(4) will not be fulfilled. Since the prerogative of the governor is to establish a stable government and since there is a potential of a CM change due to disqualification, it’s recommended to hold the selection till the judgement comes.

But, there is a formal denial.

As the cards are stacked, as time progresses, people are migrating towards Paneerselvam, hurting the chances of Sasikala. She doesn’t have experience, may be some don’t trust her. But, may be, she can be a good adminsitrator if time is given. Who is right is impossible to tell and who will win is also impossible to tell. The only difference, NTR also was inexperienced. But, people voted for him. This movement is going to be a very interesting one because of two major points
1. This is probably the first massive internet based campaign in a political tug of war anywhere is the world and is being carried out with perfection by one party. The other is just forced to defend it.
2. If the interest of people clash with the interest of the legislators whom they elected, what will happen?

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