Stepping up pressure on the TTV Dhinakaran camp, for the second time in a week, the Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal has issued notice to the 19 MLAs supporting the sidelined Deputy General Secretary.
The Speaker has ordered the 19 MLAs to submit a response by September 5 over a plea for their disqualification. These MLAs, who had pledged their support to TTV, had last week submitted individual letters to Governor Vidyasagar Rao expressing their lack of confidence in Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami,
Dhinakaran, however, has refused to back down. On Friday, the â€˜oustedâ€™ Deputy General Secretary threatened legal action against those who convened the General Council meeting on September 12. He also threatened to take legal action against the members who attend the meeting.
Condemning EPSâ€™ move to convene the meeting, TTV pointed out that only General Secretary VK Sasikala had the powers to call for a General Council. He also pointed out that the agenda for the General Council meeting had not been disclosed.
Following the merger between the EPS and O Panneerselvam faction on August 21, the united AIADMK passed a resolution calling for a General Council meeting, where steps would be taken to expel Sasikala from the party.
Over the past week, a number of MLAs have openly voiced support for Dhinakaran, with at least 22 MLAs now in his camp. Most of these MLAs have been staying at a Puducherry hotel to prevent horse-trading. With the present strength, Dhinakaran is in a position to pull down the government in the event of a floor test in the Assembly.
The notice being issued to TTVâ€™s MLAs come at a team when Opposition parties led by the DMK and Congress have been demanding a floor test in the Assembly. An all-party delegation led by Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, CPI(M)â€™s Sitaram Yechury and CPIâ€™s D Raja had on Thursday met President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi demanding that Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami face a vote of confidence in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Last week, the Chief Whip of the AIADMK, S Rajendran had earlier said, â€œI have recommended action against 19 MLAs to the Speaker according to the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. 19 MLAs did not inform me that they are meeting governor. They have acted against interest of the party and have taken decision in their individual capacity. Only the Speaker has the power to take action. I can only recommend."
If the Speaker disqualifies these MLAs, it would bring down the number in the Assembly, which could help the EPS faction cross the halfway mark in the Assembly.