18 AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to TTV Dhinakaran ‘faction’ of the ruling party were on Monday disqualified by the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal. The order of the Speaker has come amid opposition calls for the floor test of Palaniswami government.
Reacting to the developments, Dhinakaran said his MLAs will approach the court against the disqualification even as the rebels dubbed the move as a “murder of democracy”.
“Our MLAs will move the court and we will get justice,” he told reporters at Kancheepuram district.
The MLAs had on August 22 met the Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar and conveyed that they had lost confidence in Palaniswami, who is facing a challenge from Dhinakaran.
On Monday, the MLAs were disqualified under the anti-defection and disqualification rules of 1986 formed in accordance with the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, said a statement from Assembly Secretary K Bhoopathy.
The MLAs who have been disqualified with effect from today are Thangatamilselvan, R Murugan, Mariappan Kennedy, K Kathirkamu, C Jayanthi Padmanabhan, P Palaniappan, V Senthil Balaji, S Muthiah, P Vetrivel, NG Parthiban, M Kothandapani, TA Elumalai, M Rengasamy, R Thangadurai, R Balasubramani, SG Subramanian, R Sundarraj and K Uma Maheswari.
One of the dissident MLAs, SKT Jakkaiyan, had later switched camps to support Palaniswami.
Earlier, the MLAs owing allegiance to TTV Dhinakaran, nephew of AIADMK’s former interim secretary general VK Sasikala, had raised the revolt following the formal merger of the two factions led by Palaniswami and then rebel leader and now Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Chief Government Whip S Rajendran had urged the Speaker to disqualify the said MLAs for “anti-party activities” following their revolt against the Chief Minister.
Though the Speaker had issued notices to all the dissident MLAs seeking their individual presence, they had, however, not turned up. A resolution adopted at a meeting chaired by Palaniswami on August 28 had said Dhinakaran was “removed” from the post of Deputy General Secretary.
Opposition parties have since been insisting the Governor direct a floor test for the Palaniswami government for proving its majority in the Assembly.
In the 234-member House, AIADMK has strength of 134 MLAs, while the opposition has a strength of 98 including DMK’s 89, 8 of Congress and lone MLAs of IUML.
The RK Nagar seat fell vacant last year following the death of then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
(With inputs from PTI)