Two more MPs deserted the TTV Dhinakaran faction on Tuesday, taking the total number of defectors to five in just two days. Dindugal MP Udhaykumar and Vellore MP Senguttavan have both expressed their support for the AIADMK led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Rajya Sabha members A Navaneethakrishnan and Vijila Satyananth from TN and N Gokulakrishnan from Puducherry called on the CM at his Chennai residence on Monday and extended their support. The game changer in the party's feud has been the Election Commission's decision to award the party name and two leaves symbol to the unified EPS-OPS faction.
Speaking to Puthiya Thalaimurai, MP Udhayakumar claimed that he made the switch because he respected the rule of law.
"I left the TTV camp because the I respect the Election Commission's verdict and will remain faithful to the AIADMK. We are in this party because of Amma and our loyalty stands with the two leaves symbol," he says.
When asked if this was an effort to hold on to his MP seat, he says, "No, it is only because I respect the rule of law. Our country is based on it."
The TTV faction, however, put on a brave face over MPs deserting them.
"If they cannot support us boldly, let them go. It is for a selfish motive," says MLA Thangtamilselvan to the channel. "We are confident that we will win in RK Nagar because we have the support of the people there. Election results will show how much respect people have for TTV Dhinakaran," he adds.
Dhinakaran had earlier told the media that the MPs had informed him before expressing their support for Edappadi Palaniswami. The AIADMK had, however, scoffed at this explanation, terming it a 'joke'. The change in power dynamics comes ahead of the RK Nagar by-polls scheduled on December 21.