Nineteen MLAs pledging support to ousted AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran met Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday and informed him of their decision to withdraw support to the Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami.
Constitutional expert Subash Kashyap told TNM that the matter is not in the hands of the Governor and a motion of confidence against CM EPS and his Council of Ministers can be moved in the Assembly.
Led by Perambur MLA Vetrivel, 19 MLAs arrived at Raj Bhavan at 10am and submitted a batch of petitions to the Governor. Each petition accuses the CM of corruption and cites abuse of power as a decision to withdraw support to him.
"I hereby express my lack of confidence on Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami and withdraw my earlier support given to him vide this communication. I hereby submit that I have not given up my membership of the AIADMK and I am only doing my duty as a conscious citizen to express the abuse and misuse of the Constitution provision," states the petitions.
"Mr Edappadi Palaniswami is corrupt and encouraging corruption at several levels, which is also causing severe damage to the name of the party," states the petitions.
"In the first week of August 2017, Mr O Panneerselvam had given a press statement saying that the present Tamil Nadu government is totally filled with corrupt practices. But within a span of two weeks, the Chief Minister had included Panneerselvam as the Deputy CM. This reveals their favouritism, abuse of power and misuing of government machinery to cover up their corrupt practices," adds the petition.
They also invoked their right as member of the Legislative Assembly and quoted the Balchandra Jharkiholi and others vs BS Yeddyurappa in the Supreme Court of India. In 2012, the SC had set aside the Karnataka Assembly Speaker's decision to disqualify 11 dissident BJP MLAs including Balchandra Jharkiholi ahead of a vote of confidence for the then CM BS Yeddyurappa held on October 2010. While Yeddyurappa's government had survived the floor test, the 11 MLAs approached the apex court over their disqualification. The SC had then stated that the proceedings conducted by the Speaker did not meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play.
The memorandum also states that the dream and vision of Jayalalithaa is being completely ignored by EPS.
The MLAs in TTV Dhinakaranâ€™s faction include former minister Senthil Balaji, Thangatamizh Chelvan, Rengasamy, Subramaniam, Kennedy Mariappan, Sundar raj, Thangadurai, Jayanthi Padmanabhan etc.
Significantly, Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan also arrived just minutes later at the Raj Bhavan to meet with the Governor.
The latest political twist in the AIADMK saga comes a day after factions led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and former CM turned rebel O Panneerselvam announced a merger. While OPS was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, his supporter Mafoi Pandiarajan was sworn in as Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture and Archaeology.
But what came as the biggest blow to the Manargudi family was the announcement made by Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam to the media that a General Council session would be called where efforts would be taken to expel AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala from the party.
On Monday night in a series of tweets, TTV Dhinakaran went after both EPS and OPS.
"What happened was not a merger. It was a business deal for the gain of certain individuals and to help them retain posts," Dhinakaran tweeted after stating that he could not speak to the media since he was unwell. "The cadre will never accept their move to remove the General Secretary. They betrayed the General Secretary who made Edappadi Palaniswami the Chief Minister," he added.
On the same day, even as Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam displayed camaraderie and celebrated the union of two AIADMK factions, TTV's residence saw frenetic activity. 18 MLAs were present at the venue and they constantly cited the by-laws of the AIADMK constitution that stated that only the General secretary or Deputy General Secretary can convene the General Council.
Following a daylong meeting at TTVâ€™s residence in Adyar, the 18 MLAs drove to Jayalalithaaâ€™s memorial at Marina Beach on Monday night, where they conveyed their decision to meet with the Governor.
MLA Thangatamil Selvan had said, " We were not consulted about the merger but OPS who has only 10 MLAs on his side was given so much importance."
MLA Vetrivel meanwhile, pointed out that the government has merged with leaders who voted against the government six months back. "We will reveal our strategy tomorrow at 10 am. Only the General Secretary has the power to appoint or remove any member," he emphasised.