The AIADMK, which has been trying to project party chief and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa as the next PM, Thursday paraded a group of non-Tamils hailing from Gujarat and the Hindi heartland, who joined the party after crossing over from the Congress, BSP, NCP, as well as its federal front allies, the SP and JD(U).
In all, 501 persons from various parties joined the AIADMK in the presence of Jayalalithaa at the party headquarters Thursday morning. Of these, 201 were from Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and earlier held posts in national and regional parties there.
According to the AIADMK, those who joined from UP include JD(U) general secretary Rakesh Kumar and former general secretary Ghanshyam Mishra, former NCP secretary Yogendra Kumar Pandey, Muzaffarnagar district secretary of SP Bhopal Saini, and UPCC member Sanjay Saini. Former district-level leaders of the Congress, Gondwana Ganatantra Party and ABVP joined from Madhya Pradesh, while the earlier political affiliations of those from Gujarat were not mentioned.
Earlier, MLAs M Arun Subramanian of the DMDK and M Kalai Arasu of PMK called on the CM seeking developmental assistance, which has been a recurrent theme among dissident MLAs. Subramanian was arrested by the police in 2012 for alleged land-grabbing. The PMK later announced Arasu has been removed for anti-party activities.
So far, 11 opposition MLAs have shifted allegiance to the ruling party.
The principal opposition party, DMDK, has suffered the worst damage, having lost nine of their 29 MLAs. PMK lost one of three and Puthiya Thamizhagam lost one of two MLAs to the AIADMK.
The ruling party has a majority of 150 in the House 234, and has no pressing reason to seek out defectors, other than to destabilise other parties.