The Centre has advised the Tamil Nadu governor to hold a composite floor test in the Tamil Nadu assembly. Attorney General of Mukul Rohatgi has suggested that Chief Minister O Panneerselvam be pitched against AIADMK interim general secretary Sasikala Natarajan to test who commands the majority.
The AG also suggested that the governor convene a special session of the assembly in a week's time. The AG cited the precedent of a composite floor test between former Congress leader Jagadambika Pal and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh that was held in UP in the 1990s. He said that the same formula can be applied in TN as well.
The last time this unique composite floor test was held was in Uttar Pradesh was in 1998. The floor test became necessary when then Uttar Pradesh Governor Romesh Bhandari summarily dismissed the Kalyan Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, and appointed Loktantrik Congress leader Jagdambika Pal chief minister. The floor test was won by Singh by a margin of 29 votes.
The floor test was held based on the intervention of the Supreme Court. It was conducted in a manner that was unprecedented in Indian Constitutional history. The test involved each member casting a vote to declare his support to either candidate. Each of the candidates had to sign the ballot paper.
In the UP test, 422 votes were cast. However, one vote was not counted as a member put a tick mark against Singh's name instead of signing on the ballot paper. Out of the 425 members, two had not turned up and one seat was vacant as one member did not turn up. The speaker had not exercised his vote.