Read Editorial with D2G – Ep (288)

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Read Editorial – Change of Guard

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MEANINGS are given in BOLD and ITALIC

In action as well as inaction, Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao stuck (fixed; attached) to the constitutional options available to him as he grappled (engage in a close fight or struggle without idea) with the rapid twists and turns in the political developments in Tamil Nadu over the last two weeks. There may be some things he could have done differently, but he called the big decisions right. Now, no one disputes (a disagreement or argument) that he did the right thing by waiting for the Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate (too large or too small in comparison with something else) wealth case against V.K. Sasikala.

He also didn’t waste too much time before swearing (the use of offensive language.) in Edappadi K. Palaniswami as Chief Minister once he was elected leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Legislature Party following the judgment. To have allowed Ms. Sasikala to become Chief Minister at a time when the judgment was imminent (about to happen) or to have given outgoing Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam more time to muster support in the State Assembly would have been serious lapses (pause ;failure; slip) on the Governor’s part. He did well to ignore the curious advice of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who advocated a composite floor test.

Leaving aside whether or not this suggestion reflected the desire of the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership at the Centre, which seemed favourably disposed (having a specified attitude to or towards) to Mr. Panneerselvam, it would have resulted in splitting the AIADMK down the middle and plunging (falling steeply) the State into political instability (the state of being unstable). There are precedents (an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances) for a composite floor test, but these were conducted in truly extraordinary circumstances and when specifically mandated by the judiciary. The situation in Tamil Nadu did not warrant such a course.

By backing Mr. Palaniswami, the Sasikala camp may have succeeded in preventing further erosion (the process of scraping or wearing something away) of support among the public for the AIADMK, which seemed in danger of imploding (collapse or cause to collapse violently inwards ) at one time. The new Chief Minister belongs to the dominant Gounder community and enjoys a support base independent of the Sasikala clan. Unlike Mr. Panneerselvam, who was something of a diehard Sasikala loyalist before he switched sides, Mr. Palaniswami is known to keep his own counsel. But given the peculiar (different to what is normal or expected; strange) situation he finds himself in, he will probably have no choice but to carry along the members of the Sasikala clan.

Particularly, he will have to work in close coordination with T.T.V. Dinakaran, Ms. Sasikala’s nephew (a son of one’s brother or sister, or of one’s brother-in-law or sister-in-law) , who will now run the party in her absence as the recently nominated deputy general secretary. It will be no surprise if Mr. Dinakaran, who was removed from the AIADMK in 2011 by Jayalalithaa for “interfering with government administration”, attempts to influence the affairs of the State government. Mr. Palaniswami will have to deal with such pressures, perhaps even rise above them, in the interests of Tamil Nadu. Many in the AIADMK have been tainted (contaminate or pollute) by corruption charges, and the onus (something that is one’s duty or responsibility)  is on him to replace those memories in the public mind with more immediate concerns of growth and development. He will have to save the AIADMK from itself.

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