Tuesday brought a big headache for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his deputy, O Panneerselvam. OPS and EPS were in for a shocker as a third rival unit, claiming loyalty to TTV Dinakaran revolted against the party and pulled back their support. Subsequently, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin also wrote to Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and sought a floor test in the Assembly. Stalin, citing an “unprecedented constitutional crisis”, claimed that present government under Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami has lost the majority in the House. “As a leader of Opposition, I request the Hon’ble Governor to direct Thiru Edapadi K Palaniswami to prove his majority in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly immediately,” Stalin, the Leader of Opposition, stated in his letter to the Governor.
Now, the million dollar question that arises is whether the AIADMK government, sans Dinakaran faction, has the support of enough party MLAs to keep its majority intact, or not?
The AIADMK needs at least 117 votes to remain in power in 234-member strong Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. Currently, excluding the seats of House Speaker’s and Jayalalithaa, the two-leaf party has 134 seats in the Assembly.
Palaniswami claims to have support 104 MLAs on his side, while Panneerselvam claims 10. On the other hand, the Dinakaran faction has the support of at least 22 MLAs (this including three Independent MLAs as well). However, it will be no surprise if some other MLAs also come forward to support Dinakaran. The two factions, which merged on Monday, currently have just 114 votes, three short of what is needed to remain in power.
Earlier, sidelined party Deputy General Secretary T T V Dinakaran has termed the merger of two factions of the AIADMK as a “betrayal” of party general secretary V K Sasikala.
Slamming OPS and EPS factions, Dinakaran, in a series of tweets last night, also questioned the durability of the arrangement. “It is not a merger. It is a commercial agreement reached for self-interest and hunger for positions and to protect posts,” he claimed. Dinakaran said that his political journey would continue and vowed to protect the party. He further vowed to retrieve party’s “Two Leaves” symbol which has been frozen by the Election Commission ahead of the now cancelled April 14 byelection to R K Nagar Assembly constituency.