As the unified factions of the AIADMK and the MLAs who support TTV Dhinakaran fight an ugly battle, there is one party in Tamil Nadu just sitting back and enjoying the action. The DMK has made it clear that they will merely wait and watch as the government goes into a 'self-destruct mode' with its latest efforts to disqualify 18 AIADMK MLAs.
The MLAs supporting TTV Dhinakaran have been disqualified from the Tamil Nadu Assembly. According to a release from the TN Secretariat, the 18 AIADMK MLAs who were supporting the ousted leader after the EPS-OPS factions merged, were disqualified as per Schedule 10 of the Constitution, and under the TN MLAs (Disqualification due to Defection), 1986. This disqualification comes at a time TTV Dhinakaran and his supporters have been demanding a floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The High Court had only last week said that the vote could not be held before September 20.
DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan though has questioned the disqualification under Schedule 10.
â€śI do not know under what rule the speaker had disqualified them. Even the Governor has said that it is an inter-party affair, it has no connection with legislative affair so whip is issued for only legislative affairs and not for any other purposes. Whip is issued only when legislative member has to speak against a power or vote against the power, this is not anything like that. Schedule 10 is related to supporting someone else and going against the party rule but they had only asked to change the Chief Minister,â€ť Elangovan says.
"This current government is enjoying being in power so much that they have lost their long term vision. This could even be an elaborate ploy by the two sides to delay the floor test," says DMK spokesperson A Saravanan. "Our party will just have to wait and watch. We are certain that the matter will be taken to court and handled as per the law."
In 2011, the Supreme Court on Friday set aside the Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker, KG Bopaiah's order disqualifying 11 BJP MLAs holding that the proceedings conducted by him on the Disqualification Application filed by the then Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa, did not meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play.
The Bench said the appellants in their reply sent in 2010 to the show-cause notices issued to them, had made it clear that they not only continued to be members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, but would also support any government formed by the BJP headed by any leader, other than Yeddyurappa, as the Chief Minister of the State. The similarity to the argument made by the TTV faction is striking in this particular case. The MLAs have said time and again that they are not against the government but do not support Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami.
A DMK MLA, who did not wish to be named, accused the AIADMK of having tunnel vision. "They do not care about the people or about the welfare of the state. They are ruining Tamil Nadu's reputation," the legislator says. "If anything, the government should have disqualified the MLAs who supported O Panneerselvam as their activities were openly anti-party. They just know now that they are extremely unpopular and are doing everything they can to retain their seats," he adds.
The Congress meanwhile has accused the AIADMK of trying to play the numbers in the Assembly. â€śDisqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs is a tactic to manage majority in Assembly by EPS faction,â€ť says S Thirunavukkarasar, TN Congress Chief.
DMK working president Stalin had approached the Madras High Court to force the Speaker to conduct a floor test. The court on September 14 had said that a floor test cannot be conducted until September 20.
The Attorney General(AG) had informed the HC that action will be taken against the 19 MLAs, who had filed a petition with Governor Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing support to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. While the AG refused to give an assurance to the court, he said that the process of disqualification had already been initiated against the concerned MLAs.
Speaker P Dhanapal had issued notices to the legislators and asked them to appear before him last Thursday. However, the MLAs, who are presently lodged at a resort in Coorg, failed to appear before the Speaker.