A day after the warring factions of AIADMK called truce and merged into one party, MLAs owing allegiance to jailed party secretary V K Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran on Tuesday expressed their unhappiness over the decision and told the Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao that they no longer have the confidence in Chief Minister K Palaniswami. “We are going to initiate efforts to bring in a new CM with the help of our supporting MLAs,” Dhinakaran supporter and Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamil Selvan told mediapersons after a meeting with the Governor.
Citing ‘unprecedented constitutional crisis’, principal opposition DMK shot off a letter to the Governor asking him to convene a special assembly. “In the wake of 22 MLAs withdrawing support for CM, we demand for a no-confidence motion,” said DMK treasurer MK Stalin. The DMK leader also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying PM who delivered an anti-corruption speech on August 15 has helped merge “two corrupt factions” in Tamil Nadu. He was reacting to allegations that the alliance was brokered by the BJP-led Central government.
Following Stalin’s demand for a floor test, at least 15 MLAs supporting Dinakaran were shifted to two resorts in Puducherry. Fresh roadblocks seemed to have appeared before Palaniswami as 10 more MLAs are likely to join the Dinakaran camp, as per sources in both camps.
On Monday, the Dinakaran camp had claimed the support of 25 AIADMK MLAs, a number that could potentially risk the majority the ruling party currently enjoys in the Assembly. At present, the AIADMK has 134 legislators, excluding the Speaker out of the 234-member Assembly, while the Opposition DMK has 89 seats followed by its allies Congress with eight and IUML with one seat.
Questioning the merger of the two rival factions, Dinakaran supporter and Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamil Selvan stated that their intention was now to hold a trust vote. “Our intention is that there should be a trust vote. So after that a new Chief Minister will be in place,” he claimed. He also slammed Palaniswami for aligning with Panneerselvam, who had been critical of the government till very recently. “The 122 (AIADMK) MLAs had made Palaniswami Chief Minister because Chinnamma (Sasikala) asked us to do so. Panneerselvam had voted against the government (in the February 18 trust vote).
“He wanted to split the party and topple the government. Yet you give the Deputy Chief Minister’s post to him. What is the need for that now?” he asked. Selvan also criticised efforts to overthrow V K Sasikala from the party, claiming it was she who ensured the continuation of the AIADMK government following Panneerselvam’s rebellion in February.
Meanwhile, Dinakaran announced removal of senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam from the primary membership of the party. The decision came a day after Vaithilingam, a loyalist of Palaniswami, said steps would be taken for the removal of Sasikala from the AIADMK.
Earlier, Dinakaran had described the merger as a “betrayal” of party general secretary Sasikala. “It is not a merger. It is a commercial agreement reached for self-interest and hunger for positions and to protect posts,” Dinakaran had charged.
Yesterday, Panneerselvam was sworn-in as the deputy Chief Minister and was also given the plump portfolio of Finance, among others.
Meanwhile, CM Palaniswami had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by phone and thanked him for extending support to his government, an official release said. Following the announcement of merger, Modi had extended “all possible support” to the Palaniswami government.
With PTI inputs