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Three more AIADMK MLAs loyal to Dhinakaran served disqualification notice

The Speaker’s action followed a complaint by Government Chief Whip S Rajendran on Friday charging the three MLAs with acting against the party and the government.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2019 22:00 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Tamil Nadu,Assembly Speaker,Speaker P Dhanapal
TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munntera Kazhagam has accused the ruling AIADMK of acting out of panic. (PTI)

Three more AIADMK legislators, loyal to former party chief VK Sasikala’s nephew and Amma Makkal Munntera Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary, TTV Dhinarakan, face the prospect of being axed with Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker, P Dhanapal issuing notices on Tuesday, asking why they should not be disqualified from the House.

The three rebel legislators A Prabhu (Kallakurichi), V Rathinasabapathy (Aranthangi), VT Kalaiselvan (Vriddachalam) have to respond to the notices within seven days.

The Speaker’s action followed a complaint by AIADMK Chief Whip S Rajendran on Friday charging the three MLAs with acting against the party and the government headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Rajendran was accompanied by Law Minister CV Shanmugam. Recommending their disqualification, they submitted photographs with Dhinakaran as proof of their anti-party activities.

The Speaker’s notices come close on the heels of the Lok Sabha poll and Assembly bypolls for 18 seats and ahead of the May 19 bypoll to four assembly seats.

Commenting on the development, Dhinakaran’s lieutenant, Thanga Tamilselvan described it as a panic reaction of the AIADMK as it is rattled about the party’s imminent rout in the Lok Sabha elections for 39 constituencies in the state and the bye-election to the 18 assembly seats. “They have lost all hope, and hence resorting to this,” Tamilselvan said.

“The Speaker is once again misusing the powers vested with him. The disqualification of 18 MLAs in 2017 itself was an unethical move and a murder of democracy. Now, he is proceeding on the same path. This clearly shows how rattled is the AIADMK leadership about facing a whitewash in the Lok Sabha polls and the assembly bypolls,” he said.

The three rebels have continued to support Dhinakaran even after the disqualification of 18 MLAs in September 2017. The disqualification of the 18 MLAs was upheld by Madras High Court in October 2018 and elections have been held to those constituencies along with the LS poll on April 18. And the remaining four are going to the polls on May 19.

Rajendran’s meeting with the Speaker also fuelled speculation of an impending move to disqualify Thamimun Ansari of the Muslim outfit, Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi. But Ansari who was among the three independents who contested on the AIADMK tickets and extended support to the DMK-led alliance in the LS elections, was let off the hook.

Earlier on Friday and subsequently, Rajendran and Shanmugam have told the media that they have tendered enough proof to take action against the trio.

“The trio have associated themselves with Dhinakaran and hold office in his party. We have submitted to the Speaker necessary proof about their anti-party activities and recommended to take action against the errant MLAs,” they explained.

While Rathinasabapathi maintained that he would respond to the notice once he received it, VT Kalaiselvan wondered how the Whip concluded that his actions were against the government.

“I have never acted against the government and I continue to support it. Have I ever gone against the Whip? Or spoke against the government in the Assembly?” he asked.

The three MLAs maintain that they were given ticket by ‘Amma’ (Jayalalithaa) and that any action against them is tantamount to denigrating her.

In the 234-member House, the AIADMK’s strength has been reduced to 113, including the Speaker, after the disqualification of 18 Dhinakaran supporters. Among the 113 are the three rebels and three independent MLAs who won on the AIADMK ticket but remain fence sitters. While the DMK has 88 MLAs, its allies, the Congress has 9 and IUML 1. TTV Dhinakaran who became an independent MLA in December 2017, launched his party in March 2018.

In the event of the disqualification of the trio, the AIADMK’s strength would come down to 110 which is below the requirement of 116 MLAs for a simple majority. As such, the Assembly bypoll has become a litmus test for the AIADMK.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 20:17 IST