The political churning within the AIADMK has reached a flashpoint following the disqualification of the 18 MLAs from the party’s rebel faction. The latest in the series of internal tussles over the control of the party saw eight of the 18 rebels MLAs moving the Madras High Court against their disqualification. On Wednesday, the high court extended its stay on floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, and said that the floor test can’t be done till the cases filed by eight of 18 disqualified MLAs are disposed.
A timeline of events since Jayalalithaa’s death:
The death of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016 left the party in disarray, with party members scampering to look find a candidate to lead AIADMK and take over as chief minister of the state. Though O Panneerselvam was anointed as the chief minister, the situation soon turned on its head when VK Sasikala ‘accepted’ to step into the role of general secretary and lead the party.
February 5: OPS steps down after being asked to resign as AIADMK legislature party chief. VK Sasikala takes charge.
February 7: OPS rebels against Sasikala and the party heads towards a split. OPS claims that Sasikala forced him to resign from his position. He spends the next few days rallying support and manages to string together a group of 10 MLAs.
February 9: Sasikala goes to meet Tamil Nadu Governor and stakes claim to form the new government.
February 12: In a desperate bid to hold the flock together and prevent them from defecting to the OPS camp, Sasikala sends over 100 MLAs to a resort in Koovathur.
February 14: Court convicts Sasikala in disproportionate assets case. Meanwhile, Edappadi Palaniswami, a Jayalalithaa loyalist, is elected as the legislature party chief.
February 15: Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran is appointed as AIADMK deputy general secretary. The same day, she goes to Bengaluru to surrender in front of court.
February 16: EPS is sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. A couple of days later, EPS wins trust vote in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
March 9: Election Commission of India freezes the two leaves symbol of the party after both OPS and Dinakaran camps stake claim to the party symbol.
April 21: Talk of merger of two factions grows stronger by the day. OPS lays down three preconditions for any concrete talks on merger to go ahead.
April 26: Dinakaran is arrested for allegedly trying to influence two election commission official in his bid to secure the Two Leaves symbol for RK Nagar bypoll.
June 2: Dinakaran gets bail, released from Delhi’s Tihar jail.
August 10: Dinakaran removed as deputy general secretary at an AIADMK meet.
August 17: Tamil Nadu government announces judicial probe into Jayalalithaa’s death.
August 21: OPS and EPS camps go through with merger.
August 22: 19 MLAs who support Dinakaran rebel against the party, and withdraw their support to the CM and his government. Eighteen of these MLAs check into a resort in Pondicherry.
September 7: MLA Jakkaiyan leaves Dinakaran camp and extends support for Palaniswami.
September 8: The rebels are moved from Pondicherry to a resort in Coorg. Speaker Dhanapal sends notices to the rebel MLAs to appear before him personally.
September 12: Unified AIADMK expels Sasikala and Dinakaran from the party. In a symbolic step, Jayalalithaa is declared as eternal general secretary of the AIADMK. OPS and EPS consolidate support and reclaim the Two Leaves symbol. All appointments ratified by Dinakaran declared void. Meanwhile, the Opposition DMK moves court seeking a floor test in the Assembly.
September 14: Madras High Court stays floor test till September 20.
September 18: 18 rebel MLAs disqualified by Speaker Dhanpal. MLAs move high court.
September 20: Court extends stay on floor test till the time the complaints filed by eight of the 18 rebel MLAs are disposed.