Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy will seek a vote of confidence in the Assembly on Saturday, the first such floor test the state will witness in about 30 years.
He will be seeking the confidence vote in line with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao asking him to do so on Thursday while inviting him to form the government.
Though the new government was given 15 days time to prove the majority in the House, Palanisamy, a known loyalist of AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, opted to do it within two days.
In fact, many MLAs supporting Sasikala are still staying at the resort in Koovathur, about 80 km from Chennai, and are scheduled to leave in the morning on Saturday to be on time for the trust vote at 11 am.
A revolt by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam against Sasikala last week resulted in a political stalemate, with AIADMK supporters divided between the two camps.
In an intra-party power struggle, Panneerselvam had rebelled against Sasikala on February 7, alleging he was forced to step down to make way for her becoming the Chief Minister.
She was elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party leader on February 5.
But the Governor had apparently chosen to await the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict in the disproportionate assets case, in which Sasikala has been convicted and is serving prison term in Bengaluru.
Incidentally, it was a succession row that triggered a faction war in AIADMK that had prompted a floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in January 1988, when Janaki, widow of M G Ramachandran, succeeded him in the midst of a bitter rivalry involving Jayalalithaa.
Amid chaotic scenes and a spate of disqualifications by then Speaker P H Pandian and boycott by the opposition, Janaki had managed to win the confidence vote.
But her government was a short-lived one as it was dismissed two days after the floor test by the Centre.
While Palanisamy has claimed the support of 124 MLAs and asserts his government will stay, his rival Panneerselvam has vowed to continue his fight against Sasikala and her family “till the time Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) regime is restored.”
Though Panneerselvam has about ten MLAs, experts feel he can jolt the government if he is able to wean away a few legislators from the Palanisamy camp and render it a minority government.
Tamil Nadu has a 234-member Legislative Assembly.