An AIADMK MLA from Chennai on Friday said he will vote against the Edappadi K Palaniswami government in the motion of confidence that will be taken up in the assembly on Saturday. DMK working president MK Stalin also announced that party MLAs would vote against the Palaniswami government, while the Tamil Nadu Congress said they would take a decision based on the “advice” of the high command.
AIADMK MLA representing Mylapore constituency R Nataraj on Friday said he will vote against the Palaniswami government in the motion of confidence.
With this development, 11 MLAs, including former chief minister O Panneerselvam himself, are expected to vote against the motion.
“I am constrained to vote against the motion of confidence to be moved by the Edappadi K Palaniswami government,” Nataraj said.
“I have interacted with people in my constituency and their considered and overwhelming opinion is that the government of O Panneerselvam should continue and I have to reflect this opinion of the people in the assembly,” he said.
Nataraj, who was the former Tamil Nadu director general of police, said he does not consider this as a confidence vote, but a “conscience vote”. Nataraj had also served as chairman of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.
On his view on recent developments in ruling AIADMK, he said, “This is an unfortunate development. I do not belong to any camp. I have been working for unity in the party.”
“In the best interest of the party,” Nataraj said he has been working towards ensuring that there was “no division in AIADMK and this is what Amma would have expected us to do.”
He said he would continue to strive for bringing unity in the party and added that “still there is scope” for it.
Meanwhile, DMK working president MK Stalin said, “To express our opposition to the AIADMK government, we will vote against the Palaniswami government in the motion of confidence that will be taken up tomorrow (Saturday).”
He blamed the ruling AIADMK for its “failure” on several fronts, including the “deteriorating law and order situation”.
TN Congress Committee president Su Thirunavukkarasar, however, said the party would decide its stand on voting based on the advice of the Congress high command.
He said he expected feedback from the top leadership “soon”, before legislators assemble at the party state headquarters Satyamurthi Bhavan on Saturday morning.
He denied reports in a section of the media that eight Congress MLAs would vote against the government.
He said party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi would be apprised of the views of the state leadership.
In a related incident in Madurai, more than 100 supporters of O Panneerselvam were arrested on Friday for trying to take out rallies to urge AIADMK MLAs to take a “fair decision” during the confidence vote.
Police said that as part of precautionary measures, rallies have been banned.
The supporters of Panneerselvam claimed that police were acting in an “undemocratic manner”.
We are only undertaking a democratic rally. Police have no right to prevent or instigate any person against such rallies,” they said while shouting slogans against police.
While the DMK has a strength of 89, the Congress has eight, IUML one, and one seat is vacant. The House has a strength of 234 members, including the speaker.
AIADMK has 134 legislators, including the O Panneerselvam camp followers.