Ahead Of Supreme Court Ruling, Sasikala Sleepover At MLA Camp: 10 Facts

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VK Sasikala will spend the night at resort with 128 MLAs, a day ahead of Supreme Court verdict.

Chennai:  Ahead of a Supreme Court verdict that will decide her political future, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala has said she will spend the night at a five-star resort near Chennai where she has kept about 120 legislators sequestered for almost a week. Today the Supreme Court will rule whether Ms Sasikala is guilty of colluding with former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the early 1990s to acquire an illicit fortune worth about 60 crores. If the judges confirm a High Court order acquitting her, there will be no legal hurdle in her taking oath as Chief Minister and she then has to prove in a trust vote that she has majority support in the state assembly. If the court convicts her, Ms Sasikala will be knocked out of the race for the Chief Minister's post; she cannot then hold public office or contest elections for six years. "I look at everything positively. We will continue this government," Ms Sasikala said. O Panneerselvam, who took charge of the state after J Jayalalithaa died in December and who says he must remain in the top post.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
  1. Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice Amitava Roy will give separate judgements - they could give concurring judgements or differing judgements. If there is a split verdict, the case will be referred to a three-judge bench which will hear it all over again.
  2. A teary eyed Ms Sasikala huddled with her supporters at the Golden Bay resort near Mahabalipuram, around 80 km from Chennai, on Monday evening, attacking Mr Panneerselvam and stating that people have told her she "should look after the state just like Amma did."
  3. Both Ms Sasikala and Mr Panneerselvam met Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao last week and presented their claim to take a trust vote ahead of the other. He reportedly indicated that Ms Sasikala would get first shot. However, five days later, he is yet to reveal his decision.
  4. Governor Rao is reportedly waiting for the Supreme Court to deliver its verdict in the corruption case. An appeal was filed by the Karnataka government against the acquittal of Ms Jayalalithaa and Ms Sasikala in the case last year. The top court had reserved verdict in June last year. It will not make a mention of Ms Jayalalithaa, who died in December.
  5. Sources said the centre's top lawyer Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has advised him to order a special session of the state assembly for a composite floor test within a week. All Tamil Nadu's 234 lawmakers will vote to decide whether Ms Sasikala has a majority or Mr Panneerselvam does, by declaring their support for one of them with a written signature.
  6. Mr Panneerselvam has alleged that Ms Sasikala's claim of having the support of 127 of the party's 134 legislators is exaggerated. Many of them, he has complained to the governor, are being held "captive" at the resort and will vote for him if "set free and allowed to decide."
  7. The delay in her oath, Ms Sasikala has alleged, is designed to cleave the AIADMK. With every passing day, Mr Panneerselvam's faction has got a little bigger. He now has 12 members of parliament and eight state lawmakers on his side, still nowhere near the strength Ms Sasikala has demonstrated.
  8. Sources said Mr Panneerselvam, or OPS as he is called, is working on winning over a few more legislators from the Sasikala camp; just enough to ensure that she does not have the 118 needed for a simple majority. Ms Sasikala currently claims to have about 10 members more than she needs to win the trust vote.
  9. In view of the competing claims made by the two AIADMK leaders, how the opposition, particularly the DMK, with 89 MLAs, votes will also be watched keenly if a composite floor test is held. To win a trust vote in the assembly, Ms Sasikala will need 118 signatures of support. Opposition parties may abstain. Ms Sasikala had earlier approached the DMK's partner Congress, which has eight legislators, to support her.
  10. The local police said in a report to the Madras High Court today that there are 119 legislators at the resort and none of them say they being held there by force. The court had asked the police to investigate where two MLAs were based on a petition.




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Highlights

1
VK Sasikala accused in a corruption case, verdict tomorrow morning
2
Panneerselvam acting as interim Chief Minister on Governor's request
3
He is working on winning over lawmakers from the Sasikala camp: sources

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