Tamil Nadu CM wins floor test amid din; Stalin, OPS cry foul UP polls: Heavy­weights face lit­mus test to­day STAKES HIGH FOR PO­LIT­I­CAL PAR­TIES


Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - KV Lak­sh­mana klak­sh­mana@hin­dus­tan­times.com DMK work­ing pres­i­dent MK Stalin ar­rives with his party MLAs at the Tamil Nadu Sec­re­tariat in Chen­nai on Satur­day. Stalin, who al­leged he was forcibly evicted and man­han­dled by mar­shals, was later de­tained when he

Tamil Nadu chief min­is­ter E Palaniswami com­fort­ably won a dra­matic trust vote on Satur­day amid chaos after the speaker threw out op­po­si­tion DMK mem­bers for vi­o­lence and Congress leg­is­la­tors walked out.

Palaniswami won by 122 votes to 11 after speaker P Dhana­pal twice ad­journed the House within a cou­ple of hours when DMK leg­is­la­tors broke fur­ni­ture and mi­cro­phones, threw pa­pers and even oc­cu­pied his chair.

The un­prece­dented evic­tion of the 88 DMK leg­is­la­tors and the se­crecy sur­round­ing the spe­cial ses­sion are likely to take the sheen off Palaniswami’s win, which also hands a moral vic­tory to dis­graced AIADMK chief VK Sasikala in a high-stakes bat­tle against her chal­lenger O Pan­neer­sel­vam.

His vic­tory meant that Pan­neer­sel­vam’s gam­ble of re­volt­ing against Sasikala – a long-time con­fi­dante of for­mer chief min­is­ter J Jay­alalithaa – has failed and his dreams of hold­ing on to the top job gone, at least for the time be­ing.

The cur­rent cri­sis erupted about two weeks ago when in a late-night dra­matic revolt, Pan­neer­sel­vam al­leged Sasikala — anointed to suc­ceed Jay­alalithaa as CM — forced him to re­sign from the state’s top post.

But de­spite Palaniswami win­ning the trust vote hand­ily, the po­lit­i­cal thriller that has trans­fixed the na­tion for weeks showed no signs of end­ing.

Min­utes after he was car­ried out by mar­shals, DMK work­ing pres­i­dent MK Stalin rushed to gover­nor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to com­plain about the speaker’s ac­tions and Pan­neeer­sel­vam’s camp dubbed the floor test “un­demo­cratic”. Stalin later sat on a protest dharna at Ma­rina Beach, ringed by party mem­bers.

But Dhana­pal – whose shirt was torn in the melee and who had to be res­cued by mar­shals — hit back, say­ing DMK mem­bers mis­be­haved with him as he is from the Adi Dravid (Dalit) com­mu­nity.

Ut­tar Pradesh geared up for the third phase of assem­bly elec­tions with 24 mil­lion vot­ers go­ing to the polls on Sun­day in 69 seats con­sid­ered the most cru­cial for the ruling Sa­ma­jwadi Party.

The phase cov­ers strongholds of the ruling Ya­dav fam­ily — the Kan­pur and Avadh re­gions — but ex­perts warn that many of the so­called safe seats might see close fights be­cause of a resur­gent op­po­si­tion and bit­ter in­fight­ing within the SP.

Of the 69 con­stituen­cies in 12 dis­tricts which go to polls, the SP had won 55 in 2012. But spurred by in­fight­ing, chief min­is­ter Akhilesh Ya­dav changed can­di­dates on as many as 20 seats.

Many party heavy­weights – in­clud­ing se­nior lead­ers Shiv­pal Ya­dav and Mu­layam Singh Ya­dav’s younger daugh­ter-in­law Aparna Ya­dav – are in the poll fray.

Un­like the pre­vi­ous two phases, the third phase has the high­est num­ber of big fights, and fig­ures many first-timers among 826 can­di­dates.

The phase will be crit­i­cal for both Akhilesh and Shiv­pal, who were locked in a bruis­ing month­s­long fight for party con­trol.

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