Tamil Nadu crisis: CM Palaniswami’s bloc claims support of 111 MLAs

Tamil Nadu fisheries minister D. Jayakumar said that as many as 111 MLAs had backed chief minister Palaniswami

Dharani Thangavelu
Updated5 Sep 2017, 11:46 PM IST
Tamil Nadu chief minister Palaniswami. Photo: PTI
Tamil Nadu chief minister Palaniswami. Photo: PTI

Chennai: A week before a scheduled general council and executive committee meeting of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), party legislators on Tuesday passed a resolution at a meeting chaired by chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to “accept his leadership and follow his decisions.”

Supporters of the sidelined deputy general secretary of AIADMK, T.T.V. Dhinakaran, spurned an invitation to participate in the meeting.

The Dhinakaran faction dismissed claims from the Palaniswami camp that more than 100 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) attended the meeting and that a few from Dhinakaran’s camp extended support over the phone.

State fisheries minister and senior AIADMK leader D. Jayakumar told reporters that as many as 111 MLAs had backed the chief minister at the meeting. “While one was absent due to illness, nine legislators who are backing Dhinakaran have expressed their support over the phone to the chief minister,” he said.

The Dhinakaran faction said they had the backing of many legislators who remain as “sleeper cells” in the Palaniswami camp. P. Palaniappan, a legislator who supports Dhinakaran, reiterated his faction’s demand to “oust Palaniswami from the chief minister’s post”.

Some members of the Dhinakaran faction said that by convening the legislators’ meeting, the Palaniswami camp has proved that it does not have a majority in the legislative assembly.

The AIADMK has 134 MLAs in the 234-member state assembly, while late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s seat has been lying vacant since her demise in December. After 19 MLAs withdrew support to Palaniswami on 22 August, the chorus urging the governor to call for a floor test has grown louder. But governor C. Vidyasagar Rao met opposition leaders on 30 August and told them that he couldn’t intervene in a “party’s issue”.

This prompted leader of the opposition, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president M.K. Stalin, to accuse Rao of acting “in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is eyeing a back-door entry in Tamil Nadu politics”.

The governor has failed to “uphold his constitutional obligations,” Stalin said.

The general council scheduled for 12 September is expected to take some key decisions, but the Dhinakaran camp says Palaniswami and others do not have the right to convene the council and jailed party general secretary V.K. Sasikala has the “sole rights to call for such meet.”

“Palaniswami faction will never pass a resolution against Sasikala. They want to drag this as long as possible to retain their posts for four more years,” said Ramu Manivannan, head of the department of politics and public administration, University of Madras.

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First Published:5 Sep 2017, 11:46 PM IST
HomePoliticsPolicyTamil Nadu crisis: CM Palaniswami’s bloc claims support of 111 MLAs

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