The High Court verdict over the disqualification of MLAs in the TTV Dhinakaran camp is expected anytime soon and both factions have admitted to TNM that members are in talks. The TTV camp says that the government is constantly attempting to poach MLAs, while the EPS-OPS faction says that all the MLAs will be welcomed back to the party fold except the kin of ousted AIADMK general secretary Sasikala.
Currently, the EPS-OPS led government cannot reach the magic figure of 118 MLAs if it came down to a floor test in the Assembly. The stability of the current establishment depends largely upon the support of the disqualified MLAs if the court rules in their favour. It is perhaps this knowledge that propelled TTV Dhinakaran to set conditions for a merger. He had said two days back that the government should oust six ministers and choose one disqualified MLA as Chief Minister. According to reports, the ministers he is referring to are Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, P Thangamani, SP Velumani, D Jayakumar and KC Veeramani.
“Who is he to lay down conditions for us?” asks KC Palanisamy, former MP and spokesperson for the AIADMK. “Joining hands with Sasikala and family is completely out of question. We are in talks with the disqualified MLAs. We are confident that if they all get restored, they will continue as AIADMK legislators. Dhinakaran has no political party and would have to start his own. There is a lot of opposition to this move from his team itself,” he adds.
And while the EPS-OPS faction is confident about gaining the support of all the MLAs, the Dhinakaran faction says that they are steadily winning over the incumbent MLAs.
“We are in talks with MLAs within the government. They are seeing how Dhinakaran is growing and want to join us. The recent RK Nagar elections and the crowds that gather for TTV Dhinakaran’s meetings are proof enough of his popularity,” says P Vetrivel, disqualified MLA and prominent member of the TTV camp. “We know that the government is approaching our MLAs but nothing they do can change our minds. If we negotiate with them, even the people of Tamil Nadu will not trust us,” he adds.
As far as the verdict is concerned, the TTV faction is confident that it will receive justice. “Even if the High Court doesn’t rule in our favour, the Supreme Court definitely will. The disqualification will be overturned. This government has only six more months to rule before elections come around anyway,” says the disqualified MLA.