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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Stalin threatens to topple AIADMK govt but numbers tell a different story

The ruling AIADMK has a simple majority in the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly with 119 MLAs apart from three dissidents and three ‘fence sitting’ independents . The DMK has 100 members while its allies have eight legislators.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2019 19:19 IST

Hindustan Times, Chennai
DMK President MK Stalin  during a protest  in Chennai against the Tamil Nadu government  demanding a solution to teh water crissi in the state.
DMK President MK Stalin during a protest in Chennai against the Tamil Nadu government demanding a solution to teh water crissi in the state. (ANI)

DMK president MK Stalin on Monday said the utmost priority at present was to dislodge the Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) government in Tamil Nadu and claimed that a regime change was imminent even without elections.

Referring to the no-confidence motion of the DMK against Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, which is slated for discussion in the House on July 1, Stalin made it clear that more than the Speaker, ousting EPS from office was the top priority.

“Even without elections, change of government is possible and the DMK will soon take the reins of power. What is more important than changing the Speaker is dislodging the Chief Minister,” he said while addressing a massive demonstration to protest the government’s failure in tackling the unprecedented water crisis in Tamil Nadu.

This is in sharp contrast to his earlier assertion that the DMK would not adopt any means other than elections to bring down the government. Even after the Assembly bypolls which were held together with the LS elections, he had maintained that the party would not adopt unethical means to topple the government.

Stalin said the AIADMK was afraid of facing the no-trust motion. The DMK president’s assertion about regime change acquires significance in the wake of the upcoming Assembly session commencing on June 28. The session will last till the end of July. The no-trust motion, submitted by the DMK before the Lok Sabha poll, following the Speaker initiating proceedings to axe three dissident AIADMK MLAs, is being taken up on July 1. Stalin senses an opportunity to pull the rug from under the AIADMK.

Taking a swipe at AIADMK ministers and functionaries performing yagnas and other rituals to propitiate the rain god, Stalin claimed that it was not really for the skies to open up with showers but with an ulterior motive to retain power.

Also read: DMK turns up heat on TN government to end water crisis, ministers pray

While fisheries minister D Jayakumar performed a yagna in Chennai, cooperation minister Sellur K Raju, law minister CV Shanmugam and education minister KA Sengottaiyan conducted the same in many temples. Local administration minister SP Velumani, under fire for allowing water scarcity to acquire such an unprecedented level, too held a yagna at the famed Patteeswaram temple near Coimbatore.

“They are performing these rituals not for bringing rain but only to save their seats,” Stalin quipped.

Coming down heavily on the EPS government, Stalin, who is also Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, recalled that his warning about the impending crisis a year ago was not heeded by the AIADMK.

“Under this government, employment has become scarce, industrial development is scarce and now water too is scarce forcing the people to come to the streets. In the last eight years when the AIADMK has been in power – from Jayalalithaa to EPS - not even a single major drinking water scheme had been completed,” he charged.

Also read: With AIADMK in doldrums, DMK confident of returning to power in TN

The AIADMK has been dismissive of Stalin’s Chief Ministerial ambitions. “Stalin is day dreaming,” has been the response of EPS and his ministerial colleagues and party veterans like Jayakumar and others.

The strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly is 234 and the AIADMK has a simple majority with 119 legislators apart from three dissidents and three ‘fence sitting’ independents who had won on the party’s tickets. The DMK has only 100 MLAs, while the strength of its allies the Congress and IUML is 7 and one respectively. VK Sasikala’s nephew and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary TTV Dhinakaran is an independent MLA.

Stalin’s threat of toppling the government hasn’t impressed analysts either.

“Unless the DMK is able to breach the AIADMK and ensure defection from the ruling party’s ranks, regime change is not a possibility in the current assembly. But then, the DMK president has been harping on this every now and then and we have seen the government facing no challenge even when it was precariously positioned. So far Stalin’s claims of toppling the government had remained as mere chest thumping to keep the DMK cadre in good humour and nothing more,” said political analyst Aazhi Senthilnathan.