VK Sasikala, Sasikala Natarajan, Chinamma
Sasikala NatarajanIANS

The state of Tamil Nadu has been witnessing a political crisis over the past few days with a public fallout between AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala and outgoing Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. 

Sasikala, on Wednesday, lashed out at Panneerselvam calling him a traitor and had also accused him of colluding with DMK.

"Panneerselvam was with us for 75 days and the fact that he demanded an enquiry into Amma's death has deeply saddened me. Pannerselvam is a naked open traitor," Sasikala had said.

Panneerselvam, in return, accused Sasikala of cheating former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and betraying her trust.

In his meeting with Governor Vidyasagar Rao, he said that Sasikala forced him to resign from the CM's post and that her elevation to the post was fraudulent. He added that the citizens of Tamil Nadu are also against Sasikala becoming the CM of the state.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday said that the situation in Tamil Nadu has got nothing to do with the Narendra Modi-led government and that it was not responsible for the ongoing crisis in the state.

Here are three ways the political crisis in Tamil Nadu could pan out:

Sasikala wins

The first possibility could see Sasikala emerging victorius and becoming the next chief minister of Tamil Nadu. She has already claimed that 130 legislators of the AIADMK have backed her elevation to the chief ministerial post. 

M Thambidurai, a Sasikala supporter, also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with regards to the matter. 

However, there is a strong sense of dissent among the general public against Sasikala becoming the chief minister of the state.

Several actors from the Tamil film industry, like Kamal Hasaan, Arvind Swami, Khushbu and Gautami among others, have publicly declared support for Panneerselvam. 

Sofia Ashraf, the 28-year-old rapper, went to Sasikala's house along with her crew on Sunday night and rapped to express her dissent against the new chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

Panneerselvam wins

The second possibility could be Panneerselvam becoming the chief minister of the state considering he has the support of the general public.

Senior AIADMK leader Madhusudan also switched sides and declared his support to the outgoing chief minister on Thursday. Panneerselvam also claimed that the senior leader was pressured and threatened by Sasikala.

There have been obstacles to Sasikala's elevation to the CM's post which could prove beneficial for Panneerselvam.

A voter from the state's Kunnam constituency filed a habeas corpus petition against Sasikala after he was unable to get in touch with his MLA RT Ramachandran. The voter, along with activist 'Traffic' Ramaswamy, has alleged that the AIADMK general secretary has held 130 legislators captive in a five-star hotel.

The husband of another MLA from Krishnarayapuram also filed a habeas corpus petition asking that his wife Geetha, who is in the Sasikala camp, be located.

According to the News Minute, around 130 MLAs were sent to undisclsed locations in three buses following a meeting with Sasikala at the party headquarters in Chennai. Reports suggest that this was done to make sure that they don't join Panneerselvam.

Panneerselvam on Thursday read out a letter Sasikala had written to the late Jayalalithaa allegedly vowing to never enter politics and promised to not ask for any political position or use the late CM's influence. The letter has sparked reports of Sasikala and her family trying to extract political and financial favours from Jayalalithaa.

Meanwhile, Tamil actor Arvind Swami has started an online campaign urging the general public to choose their CM in a democratic manner. 

"Please contact your MLA, local party reps and tell them to represent your wishes on the choice of the CM, democratically. Whoever you might support," Swami wrote on Twitter.

He added: "Your choice is your own. No one should judge you for that. But tell your reps so that they know who the people in their constituency want."

President's Rule

The ongoing political crisis could also lead to President's Rule being imposed in the state in which case Tamil Nadu would come under the direct control of the central government led by PM Narendra Modi. 

According to the Indian Express, the BJP seems to be in support of Panneerselvam since Sasikala's elevation to the CM's post could come with "too much baggage".

The Tamil Nadu unit of the party also defended the outgoing chief minister on Thursday saying that Pannerseelvam had worked "wisely" as the CM of the state while accusing the AIADMK leadership of creating "confusion" in the state in an attempt to gain power.

BJP's Tamil Nadu president Tamilisai Soundararajan said: "According to us, Panneerselvam was acting wisely for the past two months. He faced challenges like Vardah cyclone, Jallikattu agitation and handled these situations in a proper way. We are asking as a state party, why they are in a hurry?... Public support is with Panneerselvam. But unfortunately, in democracy (only) numbers speak... The BJP is with the people of the state."