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Sasikala with ‘too much baggage’, BJP wants O Panneerselvam as Tamil Nadu CM

OPS vs Sasikala: A BJP leader said that the party cannot sit back and just watch the events unfold in Tamil Nadu.

sasikala, o panneerselvam, tamil nadu, tamil nadu politics, aiadmk, jayalalithaa, sasikala natarajan, aiadmk, bjp, tamil nadu, tamil nadu cm,aiadmk, india news, latest news OPS vs Sasikala: BJP had ‘advised’ Sasikala to wait until the Supreme Court gives its verdict in the assets case against her.

Officially, the BJP may be claiming no role in acting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s revolt, which has pushed the state into political uncertainty, but sources in the party said the BJP wants to ensure the AIADMK stays united and he continues as chief minister.

A BJP leader said that the party cannot sit back and just watch the events unfold in Tamil Nadu. Agreeing with the observation, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao told The Indian Express: “When people without any credibility want to become leader, what’s wrong in BJP wanting to be a player in Tamil Nadu? There is political instability (in the state), and it’s natural that the BJP, as a party, wants to play a role.”

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Sources said although the BJP did not initially have any serious reservations against new party chief V K Sasikala becoming the chief minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi later decided that the party will not back her since her elevation will come with “too much baggage”. “Not that OPS (Panneerselvam) will suit us perfectly (but) in the given scenario, he would be better,” a senior BJP leader said.

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The BJP, sources said, had advised Sasikala to wait until the Supreme Court gives its verdict in the disproportionate assets case against her, as “different legal luminaries” believe she could be convicted.

According to a senior BJP leader, Panneerselvam, who was shocked at developments in AIADMK on Sunday, was “clueless” on his future plans. However, Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao’s delay in facilitating Sasikala’s swearing-in has given him enough time, the BJP leader said.

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Asked whether the Governor delayed the swearing-in after he got apprehension on the validity of Sasikala’s election, Rao said, “As caretaker CM, Panneerselvam was in touch with the Governor. So the Governor might have had some clues about what was happening inside AIADMK. As the constitutional head, he had the opportunity to get all details, (and) he must have been verifying whether the election took place in proper way.”

Sasikala was expected to be sworn in on February 7. Governor Rao’s meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday evening had triggered rumours that the Centre would not like to see Sasikala take oath soon.

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For the BJP, a united AIADMK is important because with 37 MPs in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha, the party has been a friendly ally in Parliament, especially in the upper house where the NDA does not enjoy a majority. “(But) if Sasikala gets convicted, no MLA or group in the party is likely to back her. So OPS will be able to keep the party united,” a BJP leader reasoned.

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 05:05:31 am
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