Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday invited Edappadi K Palanisamy to form the government “at the earliest”. Palanisamy met the governor at Raj Bhavan in Chennai, along with a delegation of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders, including Jayakumar, KA Sengottaiyan, SP Velumani, TT Dinakaran and KP Anbazhagan.

Palanisamy will be sworn in later in the evening, along with 31 state ministers.

The four-time MLA from Edappadi, Salem district, told Rao that he has the support of 123 legislators and has been given 15 days to prove his majority in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Palanisamy was elected the AIADMK’s legislative party leader after General Secretary VK Sasikala was convicted in a disproportionate assets case.

On Wednesday evening, Governor Rao had met Sasikala’s faction as well as members from the O Panneerselvam camp of the AIADMK. Panneerselvam, who has been acting chief minister since he resigned, had revolted against Sasikala earlier last week.

The governor had reportedly asked both factions to prove their majority with letters of support. Sasikala’s side had also threatened to go on a hunger strike if Palanisamy was not appointed to the chief minister’s post.

The AIADMK had removed rival camp leader and acting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Panneerselvam and other members supporting him from the party on Tuesday. However, Tamil Nadu Education Minister Mafoi Pandiarajan, who had expressed his support for OPS, had said Sasikala had “no moral or legal right” to suspend anyone from the party.

Roping in the Election Commission

AIADMK legislator V Maitreyan from O Panneerselvam’s camp will meet Election Commission officials in Delhi, seeking to oust Sasikala from the post of party’s general secretary, reported ANI. The poll panel is also slated to hear a similar complaint filed by expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa. Depending on its decision, her actions as the party chief will either stand valid or be nullified.

On February 4, Pushpa had submitted a “letter of dissent” to the polling monitor challenging Sasikala’s “undemocratic nomination”. Pushpa had also alleged that the party did not adhere to rules while nominating “autocratic” Sasikala to be general secretary, after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.

On December 16, Pushpa had moved the Madras High Court, urging the judiciary to restrain the AIADMK general council from selecting Sasikala for the position. She had claimed that around 75% of AIADMK workers were not happy with Sasikala’s elevation to the party’s top position. “Amma (Jayalalithaa) had thrown her away from the party for conspiracy,” she had alleged.