Amid the political tussle in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Wednesday took a dip in the river Cauvery even as his rival TTV Dhinakaran took a swipe at him, saying no amount of holy dips could wash off his “betrayal”. The chief minister took the holy dip at the Cauvery Pushkaram function at a temple in Mayiladuthurai in Nagappattinam district.
Palaniswami was accompanied by senior party leaders including Handloom and Textiles Minister O S Manian and chief government whip S Rajendran.
His holy dip came on a day when the Madras High Court extended its stay on the conduct of floor test of his government, against the backdrop of Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal disqualifying 18 AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran.
Taking a jibe at the chief minister’s action, Dhinakaran said “In whichever river he takes a bath, even if at Rameswaram (sea) or Kasi (Varanasi), his betrayal of 1.5 crore party workers and its General Secretary (V K Sasikala) will not go away,”
“Only the purity of the river will be affected,” he quipped.
On MLAs supporting him moving court against their disqualification, Dhinakaran told reporters at Tiruchirappalli “Palaniswami and co have forgotten that court exists” and exuded confidence that “we will get justice.”
Dhinakaran and Palaniswami are engaged in a tussle for power, even as the former has been accusing the chief minister of “betraying” Sasikala, saying she was the one who nominated him to the top post following a revolt by then rebel leader and now deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam in February.
While the two factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam had merged on August 21, the very next day, 19 MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran had met Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, saying they had lost confidence in the chief minister.
They had sought his removal. However, one MLA later switched to the Palaniswami camp.
Since then opposition parties including DMK, besides the Dhinakaran faction, have been demanding that Rao order a floor test for the Palaniswami government, saying it has “lost majority.”
Speaker Dhanapal had disqualified the 18 MLAs on September 18,. Eight of them had moved court on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Madras High Court extended its September 14 stay on conducting floor test in the state Assembly, besides directing that no poll notification should be issued to the respective Assembly seats that fell vacant pursuant to the disqualification.