CHENNAI: A day after overseeing the smooth transfer of power to ‘Edappadi’ K Palanisamy, Governor in-charge Ch Vidyasagar Rao left Chennai on Sunday.
The Governor, who holds full charge of Maharashtra, flew down to Chennai on February 9 after initial hesitation to address a constitutional vacuum after O Panneerselvam put in his papers on February 5 and two days later raised a banner of revolt against Sasikala.
Amid buzz that the Centre and the BJP were trying to prop up OPS, the Governor gave a patient hearing to both the factions. Sasikala, elected leader of AIADMK’s Legislature Party, met Rao on the day he landed to stake her claim to form the government. Shortly thereafter, OPS met him alleging he resigned under duress. Leader of Opposition M K Stalin too met Rao and demanded a floor test.
BJP MP Dr. Subramanian Swamy strayed from the party line by demanding that Sasikala be installed as chief minister, but the Governor chose to wait for a Supreme Court verdict in an assets case before taking the final call.
After Sasikala’s conviction and surrender before a Bengaluru court, the Governor did the maths and invited Palanisamy to form the government. On February 16, the new ministry was sworn in. The Governor brushed aside an ill-conceived advice by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to seek a composite floor test and instead gave Palanisamy 15 days to prove his strength in the House. When the trust vote came up on Saturday, DMK members were bundled out by the police.
Stalin promptly went to the Governor to complain and got a patient hearing. On Sunday too, Raj Bhavan was busy hosting Chief Minister Palanisamy, rebels and the DMK.
Rao proved he was a good listener, rarely letting anyone know his thoughts, though there were some inspired leaks from Hyderabad and Mumbai. In the final analysis, he came across as neutral and fair.