In anticipation of the disqualification verdict, the MLAs are reportedly rapt in prayers at the Maha Pushkaranam festival.

Resort politics round 2 TTV MLAs head to Courtallam ahead of 18 MLA case verdict
news Politics Monday, October 22, 2018 - 18:44

It was an all-too-familiar afternoon for Tamil Nadu politics: a lull, some anticipation and just enough news to spark excitement for the days ahead. Even as reports are rife that the crucial judgement in the 18 MLAs’ disqualification case is due to be delivered soon, RK Nagar MLA and chief of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, TTV Dhinakaran has shifted his loyal coterie to Courtallam, the waterfall town in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.

Speaking to TNM, a source close to the development maintains that the move was Andipatti MLA Thangatamizhchelvan’s idea.

“A few MLAs wanted to travel abroad but TTV Dhinakaran said no. He wanted the flock to stick together. Since the verdict is likely to be delivered soon, Thangatamizhchelvan felt that it would be a good idea to go together and pray at the Maha Pushkaram festival that is currently underway in Tirunelveli,” says the source.

However, it is pertinent to note that this time around there is more support for the TTV camp with three more MLAs- Kallakurichi MLA Prabhu, Vriddhachalam MLA VT Kalaiselvan and Aranthangi MLA Rathinasabapathy- also joining him.

Eighteen Members of the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu were disqualified by the Speaker under the Anti-Defection Act in September 2017. In June this year, the Court delivered a split verdict, referring the case to a third judge ie Justice M Sathyanarayanan. But there has been no word from the Madras High Court on a date for the final judgement.

In a politically-charged speech last month, MLA Karunas too had revealed that his loyalties were with the TTV camp, claiming that he was personally responsible for picking the infamous Golden Bay Resort in Koovathur where political brokering had taken place in February 2017.

Following a factional war that broke within the ruling AIADMK after former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016, Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala followed the resort formula, putting up a number of MLAs at the Golden Bay Resort, preventing them from flocking to rival O Panneerselvam’s camp.

However, with Sasikala sentenced to four year’s imprisonment in the Disproportionate Assets case in February last year, now Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam struck a deal with current Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, staking claim to the government. However, their power now rests on a wafer-thin majority of 114 out of 234 MLAs.

The strength of the Tamil Nadu assembly is 234 members. The AIADMK won 134 seats in the 2016 Assembly Elections, and then 2 more in bye-polls in November the same year. However, following Jayalalithaa’s demise in December 2016, her RK Nagar seat was won by TTV Dhinakaran, who contested as an Independent MLA. With the death of Thiruparankundram MLA AK Bose in August, another seat fell vacant.

Meanwhile, the DMK and its allies have 97 MLAs, one short of the Thiruvarur constituency that fell vacant after former CM M Karunanidhi’s death in August this year.


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