CHENNAI: After nearly 30 years, the Tamil Nadu assembly will face a trust vote on Saturday to decide the fate of the Edappadi K Palaniswami government.
The group led by Palaniswami is confident of winning the trust vote as it claims to have 124 MLAs on its side. If this is true, the government may scrape through the trust vote as the combined vote of the opposition and AIADMK rebels led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam may not be able to cobble up the party general secretary VK Sasikala faction.
All eyes are on Speaker P Dhanapal on the type of voting he prefers. "Secret ballot may make the difference between Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. The rebel group has demanded secret ballot as it feels some party MLAs in Koovathur resort are likely switch loyalty," said a senior rebel group leader.
The magic figure that would decide Palaniswami's fate is 117. A senior functionary of the Sasikala faction of AIADMK said, "Chinnamma, before her incarceration, and later on her relatives TTV Dinakaran and Palaniswami, who have been readmitted in the party, have done everything required to keep the flock together. Palaniswami's victory is a foregone conclusion."
However, the opposition has ganged up against the Sasikala faction. A total of 101 MLAs, including those of the DMK and the IUML and 11 from the OPS group, have decided to vote against the confidence motion. The Congress, which has eight MLAs, has left its decision on voting to the high command. The party's decision would be known at 9am on Saturday.
It is only the AIADMK rebels led by Panneerselvam who may make the difference finally.