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Sasikala holding AIADMK MLAs hostage? Madras HC seeks report

Amid an escalating political crisis in the state following the rebellion by Tamil Nadu’s caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, the Madras High Court today asked the Tamil Nadu police to file an affidavit on the status of ruling party AIADMK MLAs
India TV Politics Desk Chennai February 10, 2017 14:22 IST
India TV Politics Desk

Amid an escalating political crisis in the state following the rebellion by Tamil Nadu’s caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, the Madras High Court today asked the Tamil Nadu police to file an affidavit on the status of ruling party AIADMK MLAs who are reportedly lodged at two different resorts outside Chennai. 

Caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has claimed that 120 MLAs have been kept hostage by the Sasikala camp. 

More than 90 AIADMK MLAs have been camping at a beach resort in Koovathur near Mahabalipuram since Wednesday night. Another 30 party MLAs are in another resort at Poonthandalam near Kalpakkam.

Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao met DGP TK Rajendran and discussed the situation. 

According to reports, all MLAs were directed to switch off their mobile phones by the Sasikala camp. However, the party leadership has claimed that they willingly switched off their handsets as they were getting threat calls from the rival camp.

VC Arukutty, an MLA with OPS camp, said that he has urged the Governor to ensure that the MLAs must be released and allowed to visit their constituencies to gauge the mood of the people.

Meanwhile, former AIADMK MLA from Sankarankoil Muthulakshmi has joined the OPS group. Muthulakshmi is the second senior leader who has pledged his support to OPS since last evening. Yesterday, AIADMK's presidium chairman and second-in-command in the party, E Madusudanan had extended his support to the OPS camp.

Yesterday, the government had told the High Court that all legislators are staying at the MLAs’ hostel in Chennai and are free to move around.

On the other hand, fearing a back-off from MLAs, Sasikala has approached the Congress to seek support to form government in case any ‘emergency’ arises. 

According to a report, the Congress high command has summoned Tamil Nadu Congress chief S Thirunavukkarasar and legislature party leader K Ramasamy to New Delhi on Friday for consultations. 

The ruling AIADMK has 135 MLAs in the 234-member assembly, but is now losing members to Panneerselvam’s group. 

Sasikala met Governor Rao on Thursday evening and staked claim to form the government citing the backing of 129 MLAs. But her rivals contested the claim and said it could be around 100 MLAs.