The vote was preceded by the eviction of the DMK, the main Opposition party, and a walk-out by its allies in protest. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its allies have 98 legislators in the 234-member House. One seat is vacant.
Only 11 members voted for O. Panneerselvam, who had succeeded his mentor Jayalalithaa to the chief minister’s post after her death on December 5, then resigned in favour of Sasikala, who took over the reins of the ruling All India Anna DMK. Panneerselvam rebelled against Sasikala and joined the race. Last week, Sasikala, a confidante of Jayalalithaa, had herded 120-odd MLAs of her party to a resort 90km from the capital as she made a bid for the chief minister’s post. She had to go back to jail when the Supreme Court overturned her acquittal in a corruption case.
Her flock, now under Palaniswami, came to the Assembly on Saturday morning, but not before losing some members to the Panneerselvam camp.