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Governor refuses to convene Tamil Nadu House for floor test

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-08-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai: Tamil Nadu governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Wednesday refused to convene the legislative assembly to test the majority of the state government, triggering opposition charges of bias.

Demands for a floor test to determine whether the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government has majority support have been mounting for days. But Rao told opposition leaders that he can’t intervene in a “party’s issue”.

The opposition calls grew after 19 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) withdrew support to Palaniswami last week. But Rao claimed that since the legislators continue to be members of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party, he cannot interfere.

“The governor is indulging in politics. We have been saying from the beginning that the Union government is behind everything that is happening in Tamil Nadu,” said leader of the opposition and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin.

Stalin alleged that Rao was acting “in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is eyeing a back door entry in Tamil Nadu politics”.

He accused the governor of failing to uphold his “constitutional obligations and moral responsibility.”

Back in February, when O. Panneerselvam along with 11 MLAs claimed that he had the support to be the chief minister of the state, Rao had called for a trust vote that proved the majority of the Palaniswami government.

“The governor informed us that he is not in a position to interfere in the issue as the 19 MLAs (who withdrew support to CM) haven’t been expelled from the party nor have joined another party,” said the president of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) party, Thol. Thirumavalavan, on Wednesday.

Along with Thirumavalavan, the state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) G. Ramakrishnan, state secretary of Communist Party of India R. Mutharasan and president of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi M.H. Jawahirullah called on the governor on Wednesday morning.

The leaders submitted a joint letter to the governor requesting him to convene the “state assembly at once and request the present chief minister to seek a vote of confidence in the House.”

Talking to reporters after meeting the governor, Jawahirullah claimed that Rao told the political leaders that the “ball was yet to come to his court.”

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having played a key role in orchestrating a merger between the Palaniswami and the O. Panneerselvam factions, there have been growing accusations from the opposition parties against governor Rao for delaying the next move during a “constitutional crisis.”

The DMK, along with leaders from other opposition parties, will meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday.

“The President has agreed to meet us at 11AM (on Thursday). If action is not taken against the Tamil Nadu government even after meeting the President, we will consider legal action,” said Stalin.

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