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