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Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami may axe 6 more dissident AIADMK legislators siding with Dhinakaran

There is a clamour within the AIADMK to rein in the six other dissidents as they continue to be a thorn in the flesh for the EPS government.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2018 20:40 IST
M Manikandan and MC Rajan
M Manikandan and MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
AIADMK,Edappadi K Palaniswami,TTV Dhinakaran
The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld Speaker P Dhanapal’s decision of disqualifying 18 MLAs. (PTI File Photo)

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, emboldened by the Madras High Court’s verdict upholding the disqualification of 18 MLAs, may act against six more dissidents of the AIADMK openly siding with rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran.

Of the six, three are AIADMK legislators - VT Kalaiselvan, A Prabhu, E Rathinasababpathy, and the other three are U Thaniyarasu, chief of a Gounder community outfit, founder of a Muslim party M Thameemun Ansari and S Karunas, leader of a fringe Thevar outfit.

Karunas, Thaniyarasu, Ansari, who are technically ADMK legislators, have no qualms in hobnobbing with the principal opposition party DMK. Karunas, who had won on the ruling party’s ticket, had even participated in the mock assembly session, held by the DMK earlier.

There is a clamour within the party to rein the six other dissidents as they continue to be a thorn in the flesh for the EPS government. The chorus to remove them has become louder after the High Court’s verdict, confirming the Speaker P Dhanapal’s decision of disqualifying the 18 MLAs.

While upholding the disqualification, the then chief justice Indira Banerjee and the third judge, justice M Sathyanarayanan, were categorical they were only concerned with the process whether there was any infirmity in the method adopted by the Speaker to disqualify the 10 MLAs.

Party sources said the chief minister, faced with continuing dissidence against his leadership, could then crack the whip as and when required.

“We don’t have any other option other than taking the extreme step if the dissident legislators continue to indulge in anti-party activities. There is an end to our patience. When the situation arises, the Speaker might initiate action,” Gokula Indira, the AIADMK’s organisation secretary, said.

The former minister said saving the AIADMK and the government of further embarrassment remains a top priority for the party.

She, however, also extended an olive branch.

“We are ready to accept the disqualified MLAs as well as the remaining dissident legislators. They had won on the two leaves symbol and got the ticket from Amma (former chief minister J Jayalalithaa). As such, it is not a problem for us to accept their homecoming,” Indira, also a former minister, said.

However, Thaniyarasu remained firm in his support to Dhinakaran.

“I’ll not return to the Edappadi camp,” he said while speaking to the Hindustan Times, dismissing the threat of disqualification. “On which ground could we be disqualified?” he asked, adding that they have not acted against the government.

Kalaiselvan said he continues to remain an MLA of the AIADMK.

“Though there are differences, I am an AIADMK MLA. I did not want to topple the government. So, how can the speaker send any notice to me? We have not received any notice so far. However, we are ready to face any such eventuality,” he said while speaking to HT.

Analysts are divided on the course the EPS government would take against the dissidents.

“The dissidents would not be disqualified, since that would bring the numbers of the AIADMK in the House, placing it in a disadvantage. Rather than taking such a drastic course, the government would ensure that the fall in line through various other means,” K Elangovan, an advocate at Madras High Court, said.

Aazhi Senthilnathan, an analyst and language rights activist, said it would not be surprising if the government took the dissidents head-on to send a strong message and to keep the flock intact.

“It will then become a numbers game,” he said.

While the strength of Tamil Nadu assembly is 234, it has come down to 214 following the disqualification of the 18 MLAs and because of the two vacant seats after the death of two members.

The AIADMK has 116 MLAs, the DMK has 88 and its allies Congress has eight and IUML one. Dhinakaran is an independent MLA. Hence, the government requires 108 legislators to prove the majority and even if the six dissidents are removed, the AIADMK would have 110 MLAs, including the Speaker.

Amidst these developments, chief election commissioner OP Rawat told the media that the Election Commission would wait for the disqualified MLAs to file the appeal against the verdict of the Madras High Court upholding the decision of Speaker within 30 days.

It would then start the process to hold the by-poll for the 18 seats along with the two which fell vacant earlier, he said.

The commission has to conduct the by-poll for the two seats by January and as such, the election for the 18 seats could be held along with them.

“We are ready to face the by-poll even while challenging the High Court verdict in the apex court,” Thanga Tamilselvan, a disqualified MLA and a lieutenant of Dhinakaran, said.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the disqualified MLAs moving the Supreme Court, Dhanapal has filed a caveat in the top court.

The commission has to conduct the by-poll for the two seats by January and as such, the election for the 18 seats could be held along with them.

“We are ready to face the by-poll even while challenging the High Court verdict in the apex court,” Thanga Tamilselvan, a disqualified MLA and a lieutenant of Dhinakaran, said.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the disqualified MLAs moving the Supreme Court, Dhanapal has filed a caveat in the top court.

First Published: Oct 26, 2018 19:53 IST