With Sasikala convicted in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case and making her way to the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Karnataka to serve the remaining three-and-half years of her four-year term, eyes not following her are now on Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who holds the additional charge of Tamil Nadu besides Maharashtra. What is the fate of the state, and who will now end up with its reins?
Rao has a number of choices at his disposal — some of them the results of developments over the past two days. It now depends on him, as to which way he will lean. Here are the choices he has:
1. Edappadi Palanisamy: Palaniswamy is the man Sasikala left in charge of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and its Legislative Party after she was convicted in the DA case. Now, the rule book dictates that the leader of the Legislative Party of the ruling party must be the chief minister, and so, it may be Palanisamy's turn.
2. O Panneerselvam: However, the big question for Rao is whether the AIADMK is in power at all, with many of its MLAs and leaders having defected to Panneerselvam. Will the wealth of rose water — that is what Panneerselvam loosely translates to, with no connection to paneer other than the tenuous phonetic one — return to power in Tamil Nadu?
3. President's Rule: Given the turmoil within the AIADMK, Rao may just be tempted to call for the president's rule within the state as the party sorts out its internal unrest and decides on one leader to regroup under. The party also has the option to be split asunder, in which case Rao has a fourth option to fall back upon.
4. Snap polls: In case the AIADMK splits, TN Governor Vidyasagar Rao has the option to call for snap polls. It is this option a united DMK will be hoping for. After all, it has been licking its chops ever since the fissures within the AIADMK surfaced. It would also be a great opportunity for working president MK Stalin to prove his leadership capabilities.