CM calls for meet­ing of Min­is­ters, MLAs

Talk of keep­ing House in sus­pended an­i­ma­tion does the rounds


Amid spec­u­la­tion that Tamil Nadu is headed for President’s Rule, Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K. Palaniswami has called a meet­ing of Min­is­ters and MLAs for Thurs­day morn­ing to find a way out of the log­jam.

With side­lined AIADMK gen­eral sec­re­tary T.T.V. Dhi­nakaran un­re­lent­ing in his mis­sion to oust Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K. Palaniswami, the lat­ter has called for a meet­ing of Min­is­ters and leg­is­la­tors at the Sec­re­tar­iat on Thurs­day.

The meet­ing is likely to throw up strate­gies that will be adopted to counter the cam­paign Mr. Dhi­nakaran, sources say. There are in­di­ca­tions that apart from MLAs of the pro-Dhi­nakaran camp, a few other leg­is­la­tors who have not pledged their sup­port openly for Mr. Palaniswami have not been in­vited for the meet­ing.

Mean­while, talks are do­ing the rounds in po­lit­i­cal and bu­reau­cratic cir­cles that to tide over the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cri­sis caused by the with­drawal of sup­port to the Chief Min­ster by 19 AIADMK leg­is­la­tors, the op­tion of keep­ing the As­sem­bly in sus­pended an­i­ma­tion could be ex­er­cised. Se­nior bu­reau­crats pri­vately ad­mit that this op­tion can­not be ruled out if an im­me­di­ate elec­tion were to be pre­vented.

Look at prece­dents

On nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, the Cen­tre had re­sorted to President’s rule with­out dis­solv­ing the House.

Nor­mally, this op­tion is used in times of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity. Last year, the Arunachal Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand As­sem­blies were brought un­der sus­pended an­i­ma­tion. In re­spect of the for­mer, the du­ra­tion lasted a few weeks, and in the case of the lat­ter, it was for about one-and-a-half months. On both oc­ca­sions, the Cen­tre’s ac­tion came in for se­vere crit­i­cism.

The events in Kar­nataka are also worth re­call­ing. In Oc­to­ber 1990, the Cen­tre kept the State leg­is­la­ture in sus­pended an­i­ma­tion for a week fol­low­ing the re­fusal of Veeren­dra Patil to quit the post of Chief Min­is­ter in de­fi­ance of his party president Ra­jiv Gandhi’s di­rec­tion.

Even though the State wit­nessed the im­po­si­tion of President’s rule four times (Jan­uary 1976, Fe­bru­ary 1980, Jan­uary 1988 and Jan­uary 1991), its leg­is­la­ture also got dis­solved si­mul­ta­ne­ously all the time. If at all the As­sem­bly is kept un­der an­i­mated sus­pen­sion this time, this would be the first such oc­ca­sion. In that case, all the leg­is­la­tors would be draw­ing their pay and al­lowances till the President’s rule is lifted or the House gets dis­solved.

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