Ten opposition MLAs, including eight from Captain Vijayakanth’s DMDK, resigned as legislators Sunday. The resignations come a day after the last day of the last session of Tamil Nadu’s 14th Assembly.
With eight of his MLAs resigning, DMDK leader Captain Vijayakanth lost the leader of opposition status. In a statement, Assembly secretary A M P Jamaluddin said no party was now now qualified for the post of leader of opposition as all had lost the minimum required strength of 24 MLAs.
All these MLAs, however, had been supporting AIADMK for nearly two years in the Assembly and a formal resignation was needed for them to join the party.
The resignations come a day after Vijayakanth and his wife Premalatha had, on Saturday, launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa during a rally in Kancheepuram.
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The DMDK MLAs who resigned are K Pandiarajan (the legislator from Virudhunagar), C Arun Pandian (Peravurani), S Michael Royappan (Radhapu-ram), T Sundararajan (Madurai West), Tamil Azhagan (Tittagudi), T Suresh Kumar (Chengam), M Arun Subramanian (Tiruttani) and R Santhi (Senthamangalam).
M Kalaiarasan, who had won the Anaicut seat on a PMK ticket, also submitted his resignation along with A Ramasamy of the Puthiya Thamizhagam party.
While Vijayakanth himself had suspended seven rebel MLAs from the party’s primary membership in June 2013 after they voted against party candidate A R Elangovan in the Rajya Sabha election, there were also incidents of DMDK MLAs and dissidents exchanging blows in the Assembly.
PMK had Kalaiarasan expelled from the party in February 2014 for supporting Jayalalithaa. A Ramasamy, one of the two MLAs of Puthiya Thamizhagam, had also been in the news from early 2014 for his attempts to get close to AIADMK leadership. His party leader Dr. Krishnasamy, who founded the party based in southern Tamil Nadu representing Scheduled Castes, is a strong critic of Jayalalithaa.