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DMK vows to oust AIADMK govt

The DMK, with 89 MLAs, sees an opportunity to grasp power in the intense internal feud within the AIADMK, which is facing a string of rebellions.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2017 22:30 IST
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Tamil Nadu,AIADMK,DMK
AIADMK is facing a string of rebellions since the death of party supremo J Jayalalithaa. (PTI File Photo)

Legislators of the opposition DMK pledged on Tuesday to back any move by party president MK Stalin to oust the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, a decision that underscored the fluid political situation in the southern state.

The DMK, with 89 MLAs, sees an opportunity to grasp power in the intense internal feud within the AIADMK, which is facing a string of rebellions since the death of party supremo J Jayalalithaa last December.

The main opposition party held the Centre, state government and assembly Speaker responsible for the impasse.

The AIADMK split after Jayalalithaa aide V Sasikala took the reins of the party in February and handpicked Edappadi Palanisami as chief minister, removing rebel leader O Panneerselvam. But Sasikala was soon convicted of corruption and she appointed nephew TTV Dinakaran as deputy general secretary before going to jail.

The factions under Palanisami and Panneerselvam merged this August and the united party removed Sasikala and Dinakaran from party positions, triggering another mutiny. Dinakaran claimed the support of 18 legislators but speaker P Dhanpal disqualified them under an anti-defection law.

The twists and turns triggered speculation that the BJP-ruled Centre was orchestrating the entire plot with an eye to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu, where the party has negligible presence.

The action now moved to the Madras high court, which will hear on Wednesday a petition by the DMK seeking direction to the governor to order a floor test. The party has also challenged the disqualification 18 MLAs loyal to Dinakaran.

The disqualified MLAs haven’t quit their AIADMK membership or joined another party.

The DMK said it will fight the AIADMK government in the courts, on the streets.

The party leadership has asked all its MLAs to stay put in Chennai, as chief minister Palanisami might be asked to prove his majority through a floor test in the assembly.

For his part, Dinakaran accused the Centre, governor and speaker of “murdering democracy”.

The disqualification brought down the strength of the 234-member assembly to 215, including the vacant seat of Jayalalithaa. Palaniswami needs the support of 108 MLAs, excluding that of the Speaker, to pass a floor test.

If the disqualification of 18 legislators is revoked, the chief minister will need 117. He has 113 MLAs after the merger, but still four short.

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 22:30 IST