It's conscience vs trust as Edappadi government awaits fate

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu assembly will go through the motion of a trust vote for the first time in 29 years+ on Saturday to decide the fate of the V K Sasikala faction's AIADMK government+ headed by Edappadi K Palaniswami. The session starts at 11am on Saturday.

Going by the numbers presented by the two factions to governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Palaniswami is beyond the magic figure of 117 in the 233 member House (Jayalalithaa's seat is vacant). Palaniswami claims support of 124 MLAs, but a shift of eight MLAs can unseat him.

O Panneerselvam , who made a last-minute appeal to AIADMK MLAs to "listen to their conscience", may have to work harder if DMK president M Karunanidhi stays away, a strong likelihood as party spokesman TKS Elangovan indicated.

To tighten the noose round wayward legislators, AIADMK whip S Rajendran has asked all the party MLAs to vote for the Palaniswami government. Defying the whip may amount to disqualification for nine MLAs on the rebel side. OPS and former minister Mafoi Pandiarajan having been expelled from the party will not be bound by the whip.

Much depends on the stand speaker P Dhanapal takes on the nature of voting. Whip has effect only in the case of voice voting. The OPS faction, in a meeting with Dhanapal on Friday, demanded secret ballot, hoping that many MLAs staying at Kuvathur would vote against the government in such a scenario.

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