A day after two more AIADMK MLAs joined the T T V Dinakaran camp, taking their number to 21, Dinakaran broke his silence for the first time since the party’s merger on Saturday and said that no one could threaten him except God.
Clarifying that some 19 MLAs supporting him were staying at a resort in Puducherry not out of fear but to teach a lesson to those who dared announce the plan to remove party chief V K Sasikala, Dinakaran said he was waging a war. “It is a war between sacrifice and betrayal,” he said.
Dinakaran also said he believes that Governor In-Charge Ch Vidyasagar Rao will consider the demand of his 19 MLAs for action against CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on corruption and other charges. Rao returned to Chennai on Saturday amid demands for a no-confidence motion in the Assembly against the EPS government, DMK leaders who had sought an appointment with Rao were granted time at 10.30 am Sunday. A senior DMK leader said the party’s deputy opposition leader Durai Murugan and five MLAs will meet Rao and demand a trust vote. The Congress also wants appointment with the Governor to raise the same demand.
With Virudhachalam MLA V T Kalaiselvan extended support on Friday, the ruling faction was reportedly devising strategies to delay the no-confidence motion or muster the adequate number of MLAs. A senior minister said they were facing a tough situation as two more MLAs had joined Dinakaran. “If the DMK plans a no-confidence motion, action pending against some 20 DMK MLAs for bringing gutkha into the Assembly will defeat their plans,” he said, hinting that a privilege committee that probed the issue might disqualify them. Senior DMK leader K P Ramalingam said, “Let them take a formal decision and announce it.”
While the disqualification of 20 DMK MLAs would make the situation murkier, sources in the Dinakaran camp said the ruling faction cannot escape the eventual fate of Palaniswami. “He has to go. We have support of 24 MLAs, including three independent MLAs. More MLAs are joining every day, more people including ministers are in the sleeper cell. CM Palaniswami is losing MLAs to us and leaders to BJP,” said the leader, alluding to former AIADMK minister Nainar Nagenthran and others who had joined the BJP in the presence of party chief Amit Shah in Delhi.
On AIADMK leaders joining the BJP, a senior ruling faction leader said it was unfortunate that the BJP leadership was orchestrating such events when the party was facing an internal crisis. “We supported them in the President and Vice President elections and were planning to weave in a larger NDA alliance in the state,” he said.