16:00 AIADMK MPs herded into bus, taken to undisclosed location: Just in: AIADMK MPs being herded into a bus and taken to an unknown location. The MPs will leave for Delhi tonight to meet President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow. MPs have complained about Governor Vidyasagar Rao’s absence from Chennai as a crisis brews in the state.
As VK Sasikala held a meeting with AIADMK MLAs this afternoon, all but three of the 134 lawmakers were present. Sasikala spoke at length on the party’s crisis, why she waited to take charge after Jayalalithaa’s death in December and spoke about Panneerselvam’s betrayal and the collusion with the DMK.
15:50 Fadnavis’s wife represents M’rashtra at US world peace meet: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s wife Amruta represented Maharashtra at the ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ forum for world peace held on February 2 in Washington, DC, where Amruta, a banker by profession, spoke on the topic ‘Power of Love’.
Senators and leaders from different nations came together to promote world peace and harmony at the global programme,
“It was an honour to present my ideas regarding the importance of ‘Power of Love’ for the wellbeing of humanity at the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington — presided over by the president of the United States Donald Trump, towards global peace and equality,” she said in a press statement.
15:09 No limits on cash withdrawals after March 13: Just in: Cash withdrawal limits raised to Rs 50,000 from the existing Rs 24,000 effective February 20. No limits on cash withdrawals from savings account after March 13, says RBI.
Last month, the Reserve Bank of India raised the daily withdrawal limit at ATMs to Rs 10,000 per card and doubled that for current accounts to Rs 1 lakh per week, signaling that the post-demonetisation cash crunch is easing as currency supplies have risen over the past few weeks.
The overall cap of Rs 24,000 per week for savings accounts has now been upped to Rs 50,000 per week. This limit too will be done away with on March 13.
Sasikala, facing a rebellion from O Panneerselvam, told her party today that she would work on the path of Amma and “betrayal will not be tolerated.” In an hour-long speech punctuated by applause from over 100 MLAs, she called Panneerselvam a traitor “playing the dirty games” of rival DMK.
Stalin said the DMK will back OPS as CM and would continue to behave like a responsible opposition.
Reacting to Sasikala’s allegations that the DMK is the force behind OP Panneerselvam’s rebellion and that it was obvious by observing Panneerselvam smiling at Stalin, the DMK treasurer asked how can a smile be objectionable. He said in the past, Jayalalithaa had often smiled at him in the Assembly and it meant nothing. He said that people were mocking Sasikala for the mess the state is in.
To bring you up to speed, last night, after visiting his mentor Jayalalithaa’s beach-side memorial, Panneerselvam announced that he was coerced and humiliated into resigning as Chief Minister, and that if the cadre wants, he will withdraw that resignation. Today, he proclaimed that he will prove himself as the rightful head of state by taking a trust vote.
Asserting that the Tamil Nadu Government has collapsed in the last eight months, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president M.K. Stalin on Wednesday called for Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao’s intervention in the political turmoil in the state.
“Tamil Nadu Government administration has collapsed in last eight months. The Governor must immediately come to Chennai to safeguard TN interests,” Stalin tweeted.
After late night emergency met with AIADMK leaders, Sasikala had said that Panneerselvam was seen smiling at Stalin during the assembly session.
She implied that Panneerselvam was in cahoots with the DMK and had indulged in a smear campaign against the party at the behest of DMK.
“There have been times when Jayalalithaa inside assembly greeted me, smiled. Can Sasikala question this act of Jayalalithaa? Shameful to say that smiling is an objectionable thing. Now what will she say about the mess people are laughing on now?” Stalin added.
Meanwhile, reacting to the political crisis, Panneerselvam earlier in the day said there is a force behind everything that is happening in the state.
Issuing fresh allegations, Panneerselvam claimed he was never allowed to meet late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa even once when she was hospitalised.
14:52 ‘Bas Modi hi hai BJP mein, aur kuch nahi hai’: In the dangal of UP politics, much as Muzaffarnagar wants to leave its past behind, the shadows are never far away. Rediff.com’s Archana Masih visits a town that has become synonymous with riots and listens in to what its people say. Do read.
14:39 RBI leaves key rates unchanged. Repo rate at 6.25 per cent, reverse repo rate at 5.75 per cent.
14:30 AIADMK MLAs likely to meet President Mukherjee tomorrow.
14:30 Spilled: ‘diabolic agenda’ to edit MPs’ speeches: “Deception”, “disruption”, “diversion” and “diabolic agenda”. Words deleted from CPM leader Sitaram Yechury’s “verbatim records” of his Rajya Sabha speech on February 6.
Yechury went public with a grievance other members have grumbled about for some months now: that their speeches are being edited even when there are no unparliamentary references or something House rules do not permit.
14:05 OPS’ betrayal will not go unpunished, DMK’s evil act to destroy party: Sasikala : AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala addressing party MLAs at the AIADMK HQ. Sasikala is facing rebellion from O Panneerselvam, the man who took over the as Tamil Nadu CM after Jayalalithaa’s death. In a speech punctuated with applause by nearly a 100 MLAs, she said she would work on the path of Amma and betrayal would not be tolerated. At several points in the hour-long speech, she blamed the DMK for the rebellion.
— We won’t deviate from the path of Amma.
— Won’t tolerate betrayal, won’t tolerate dirty tricks.
— OPS’ betrayal wont go unpunished.
— Was there any temptation by the Opposition parties? Is he falling victim to their games?
— I wont deviate from the path Amma showed.
— This is an attempt to break the unity of the party and let me assure you we will not let it happen. The DMK is trying to break up the party and let me tell them, they will not be successful.
— History has shown us that traitors can never win. No on can defeat the AIADMK.
— I hope all of Amma’s children, all of you, will be with me.
— We will show the betrayers, the naysayers, the true path of Amma.
— No one will be able to divide us.
— I will clear the confusion in the next few days.
— The enemies of the AIADMK will come one after the other. But they will only face defeat.
— As Dr MGR said fear is foolishness, you have to rise above fear.
— OPS falling victim to DMK’s dirty politics.
— Amma was my heart, my God. I swear this in the name of Amma, in the name of Dr MGR.
— For 33 years there were many ups and downs many calamities. I have faced so many betrayals, but I have overcome all of that and we will overcome this too.
— It’s a DMK-OPS plot to split the party.
— When Amma died there was confusion that the party will be split.
— This is the deceitful plan of the DMK that OPS is falling to.
— I took the decision that OPS should be CM. But at the time, cadre said I should be CM. But I was not in a mental position, I was grieving.
— In the last two months OPS has been colluding and cooperating with opposition forces.
— But I overlooked it. Amma has showed the way.
— But events of the last two days have forced me to take this step.
— His evil act to destroy the party will not be forgiven. He undermines everything that Amma fought for, that the cadre fought for. He is out to destroy all of that.
— It is a deviation from Amma’s path and I will not allow it.
— I dedicate my life to Amma’s dream.
— The journey for us is to follow in the path that Amma has show us.
— There is more power in the word Amma, than CM.
— Our enemies are acting to undermine us.
— The AIADMK will not break nor will I break because of this.
— Her dreams will always be with us and will be fulfilled.
— No power can stop us. Because the power called Amma is with us.
— The 5th of December legislative meeting — I did not call for it. That I influenced this, that I forced OPS to resign is not true and nobody will believe
— Why did OPS change in the last 48 hours? Was OPS tempted by the DMK? Why did he keep quiet for all these days. Was he being played by the DMK? People are vexed because he cohorted with the DMK.
— When OPS complained that members are colluding against him, I immediately took action and told them not to do anything that undermines the authority of the CM.
— I understand the machinations of the DMK with OPS.
— As general secretary I would have forgiven him. But what happened yesterday has crossed all boundaries.
— Stalin was happy yesterday and that shows OPS is in cahoots with the DMK.
I dedicate myself to the dreams of Amma.
I hope you will join me in realising her dreams.
13:15 Governor is right to defer Sasikala’s swearing-in: Soli Sorabjee.: Former Advocate General of India Soli Sorabjee, a Constitutional expert, says Governor Vidyasagar Rao is right in deferring Sasikala’s oath-taking. He said if the Supreme Court overturns the Madras High Court ruling and finds Sasikala guilty of corruption, she cannot assume office in any case. The SC is expected to give the judgment next week. Meanwhile, the governor, who is also the governor of Maharashtra is in Mumbai and it is uncertain when he will return to Chennai.
13:07 AIADMK MLAs’ meet ends, majority with Sasikala: The meeting of AIADMK MLAs in Chennai is over. Sasikala called for a meeting of AIADMK MLAs at the party office. Of the party’s 134 lawmakers, about 100 are on her side. She is likely to address the media later today. She said no one can break the unity of the party. Reports say she addressed MLAs at the meeting and urged them not to support traitors, a reference to O Panneerselvam.
Panneerselvam has said that he will meet Governor Vidyasagar Rao after he returns to Chennai. He said after assuming the CM’s position, the experiences which he went through has pained him a lot. “Being a CM I was targeted and humiliated,” he said.
AIADMK senior leader Dr Maitereyan said the rank and file support O Panneerselvam since he is Amma’s choice. “The people and cadre support OPS. The BJP can give moral support to OPS, but strength will be tested in an Assembly.
Sasikala has maintained that she did not force OPS to resign.
12:34 Trump’s immigration ban faces tough scrutiny in court: President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order today faced intense scrutiny as a court of appeals grilled the Trump Administration whether the travel ban unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims and questioned the arguments that curbs were motivated by national security concerns.
Asserting that President Trump was within his constitutional rights and obligations to sign the executive order that temporarily bans immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Justice Department urged court of appeals to reinstate the travel ban — put on hold by the courts last week.
During the hour-long hearing, conducted by phone, before a three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals here, the Justice Department lawyer August Flentje said in signing the executive order Trump struck the balance between national security and the practice of allowing people from entering the country.
12:06 Election Commission delivers jolt to Sasikala: JUST IN: EC says AIADMK rules don’t allow interim general-secretary, jolt for Sasikala.
According to the AIADMK constitution enacted by founder M G Ramachandran, the general secretary is all powerful. The general secretary is to be elected by all the primary members.
In the absence of a general secretary, the general council appointed by the previous incumbent will continue to be in place.
Based on this, the Election Commission has said that since Sasikala was not elected as general secretary by the primary members, and the party constitution does not provide for an interim general secretary, her election is not valid under the party’s rules.
In a first, the Supreme Court today issued contempt notice to a sitting high court judge, Justice CS Karnan for levelling allegations against former Judges of the Supreme Court and sitting judges of Madras High Court. The top court also ordered that no judicial and administrative work be given to him.
The Supreme Court asked the Registry to send across a copy of the order to Justice Karnan during the day who would have to return all judicial and administrative files in his possession to Calcutta High Court’s Registrar.
11:19 Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends Lok Sabha proceedings in the Parliament. For those who missed it, PM Modi tore into the Opposition, namely the Congress, on Tuesday.
11:01 I’ll prove my majority in the House: OPS dares Sasikala: After dropping a bombshell last night, saying he had been forced to resign from the post of Tamil Nadu chief minister to make way for Sasikala, O Panneerselvam addressed the media this morning.
Speaking to hordes of journalists, the CM said, “There has been no instance where Panneerselvam betrayed the party, while remaining in power or opposition. If party cadres ask me to withdraw my resignation, I will do that.”
Amma remained CM for nearly 16 years, I happened to become CM twice, all this was the wish of Amma.Always followed Amma’s path.
He also confirmed that an inquiry will be set up to probe the rumours that have been swirling over the circumstances of Jayalalithaa’s death.
Earlier on Monday, Apollo Hospital doctors along with the UK specialist Dr Richard Beale, who treated Jaya, cleared the air around her death, saying she died of a cardiac arrest after her organs started shutting down.
OPS also said that he would meet the governor once he returns to Chennai. He says he’s confident of proving his strength in the assembly.
When asked if the Central government is supporting him, OPS responds, “The Centre isn’t supporting me as a person, but supporting Tamil Nadu and its people.”
10:26 O Panneerselvam to withdraw his resignation?: It’s twist after twist in the battle for Tamil Nadu.
According to AIADMK sources close to Panneerselvam, he will be withdrawing his resignation from the governor. Currently, the governor C Vidyasagar Rao is in Mumbai.
Sources also added that Panneerselvam may demand for a probe panel to investigate Jayalalithaas Death
AIADMK has appointed Dindigul Srinivasan as the new party treasurer after Sasikala sacked Panneerselvam from his post following his revolt.
Srinivasan backing Sasikala told the press that the entire party is behind Chinnamma.
09:45 No legal problem in Sasikala taking over as CM: A-G:
Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi has denied reports that Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had sought his opinion on whether there were any legal hurdles to AIADMK general secretary Sasikala Natarajan taking over as the next chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
Rohatgi, however, said there was no legal problem to her appointment as CM.
Sasikala was acquitted by Karnataka High Court on May 11, 2015 in the disproportionate assets case along with former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa, J Elavarasi and VN Sudhakaran.
The Karnataka government had appealed to the apex court against the acquittal in the corruption case. The Bench of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy had reserved the judgment.
09:33 Reacting to Sasikala’s claims that the DMK was responsible for O Panneerselvam’s rebellion last night, TKS Elangovan responded, “How can DMK be behind this. How can they blame us for their infighting? How can we support O Panneerselvam when hes the Opposition? Were a major party and we want to come back to power and expose AIADMKs wrongdoings.
“The Modi government is playing a dirty game. They want to create problems for the political parties and they want to get some advantage as the BJP has no hold in Tamil Nadu and they think this an opportunity to be utilised,” state Congress president S Thirunavukkarasu told ANI.
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram has asked for fresh election to be conducted in the state.
“The only solution to the extraordinary political situation in Tamil Nadu is to dissolve the house and call for a general election as the people of Tamil Nadu must have a right immediately to elect a party and leadership of their choice,” he said.
Meanwhile, suspense mounted over the swearing-in of V K Sasikala as chief minister of Tamil Nadu with the governor deferring his plans to go to Chennai, as charges and counter-charges flew thick and fast between AIADMK and rebel leaders over the death of J Jayalalithaa.
In the wake of the uncertainty over Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s plans, the AIADMK asserted that it was the constitutional obligation of the governor to swear in Sasikala as chief minister and that there is no ground for stopping it.
Rao, who is governor of Maharashtra holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu, in Mumbai and has no plans to go to Chennai as of now, Raj Bhavan sources in Mumbai said, indicating that he could take a decision tomorrow.
09:16 Skywalk collapses in Mumbai suburb: A senior citizen was seriously injured after a portion of a skywalk in the Mumbai suburb of Dahisar collapsed, civic officials said today.
Sunil Kulkarni (65) received serious injuries in the collapse last night at Dahisar West. Bystanders immediately rushed him to the nearby Silverline hospital where he was being treated, said an official from the municipal corporation’s disaster management control room.
According to the official, there were no other casualties in the incident.
The 850-metre skywalk was built by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and thrown open for public in 2011. When asked, a police officer attached to local MHB police station said, “We have taken cognizance of the matter, inquiring into it and will register the case if lapses are found.”
Photograph by Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com used for representational purpose only.
09:11 JUST IN: According to NDTV, no Tamil Nadu visit on TN governor’s schedule as of now. Still in Mumbai
08:58 ‘Wasn’t allowed to meet ‘Amma’ in hospital even once’: After dropping a bombshell late on Tuesday night, saying he was forced to resign from the chief minister’s post, O Panneerselvam raised the ante against Sasikala and said that she had even restricted his access to Jayalalithaa while the latter was in hospital. “Had visited hospital daily to enquire about Jayalalithaa’s health condition, but couldn’t meet her even once,” he said.
He also raised doubts about the popular support that Chinnamma enjoyed, saying that party members were ‘helpless’ and that he had no malice against the party and that Sasikala didn’t enjoy the kind of support she was portraying to the media.
What does this mean? What does the immediate future hold for politics in Tamil Nadu?
08:24 Stalin backs OPS, wants functional govt in Tamil Nadu:
Tamil Nadu chief minister O Paneerselvam received support from unexpected quarters — opposition party leader and DMK working president M K Stalin – after the former declared that he had forced to resign.
Stalin said “strict action” should be taken against the people who had forced a sitting chief minister to resign. Stalin said DMK would function not as an enemy but as an opposition party and support a functional government in this time of crisis.
He urged the acting Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to establish a “functional government” in Tamil Nadu immediately.
Stalin said, “The Governor must do this either by convening the assembly or by finding out which party has the support of MLA majority.”
07:55 JUST IN: All AIADMK MLAs to meet at 10 am after O Panneerselvam’s revolt last night
07:50 Team Sasikala refutes OPS’ claims, say ‘all MLAs are united’:
AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai dismissed O Panneerselvam’s claim that he was forced to resign as chief minister and insisted party chief V K Sasikala would become the chief minister as all the legislators were behind ‘Chinnamma’.
Emerging from the Poes Garden residence of Sasikala, he asked “Do you believe he was coerced, forced to resign?” and dismissed Panneerselvam’s claims, saying “Do we need such a chief minister?”
“All the MLAs are united…All the legislators are inside (pointing to the Poes Garden residence),” he said, adding in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK will continue its rule for the remaining four-and-a-half years.
He said “be it (the upcoming) civic poll or Parliamentary elections, we will win all under the leadership of Chinnamma.”
The AIADMK propaganda secretary also claimed “Panneerselvam is instable.”
State minister C Ve Shanmugam called Panneerselvam “a betrayer”.
02:08 DMK is behind Panneerselvam’s revolt: Sasikala:
Making a late night appearance outside her residence in Chennai, AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala said that the DMK has plotted this conspiracy against her.
“DMK is behind Panneerselvam’s revolt against me. He will be expelled from the party,” she said.
“No confusion or problem in our party. We are united like a family,” said Sasikala as she waved to supporters outside Poes Garden.
She further added, “I did not force O Pannerselvam for anything. What he is saying is not correct.”
00:51 Sasikala sacks OPS as AIADMK treasurer: Hours after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam made a shocking revelations, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary VK Sasikala has removed him as party treasurer.
Dindigul C Sreenivasan will replace him.
Meanwhile, celebrations has began at Panneerselvam’s residence after he hinted that he may withdraw his resignation if people of Tamil Nadu and party cadres so desired.