TN: 19 MLAs in Dinakaran faction withdraw support to Palaniswami govt.

NetIndian News Network

Chennai, August 22, 2017

A day after the two rival factions of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) merged and rebel leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister, a third group of 19 MLAs owing allegiance to the party's interim General Secretary V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dinakaran today withdrew support to the Edapadi K. Palaniswami government.
The 19 MLAs met Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan and handed over to him individual letters stating that they had withdrawn support to Chief Minister Palaniswami.
The letter said that Mr. Palaniswami had forfeited their confidence and the confidence of the public and that they had, therefore, decided to withdraw support to him.
One of the MLAs, Thanga Tamil Selvan, said they had urged the Governor to direct the Chief Minister to seek a fresh vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly.
''We all voted for Palaniswami during the February floor test only because general secretary V K Sasikala asked us to do so. Now they want her to be sacked from the party which is not fair," he said.
Soon after the 19 MLAs met the Governor, Mr. Palaniswami went into a huddle with his senior colleagues, including Mr. Panneerselvam.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dinakaran, the Deputy General Secretary of the AIADMK, expelled Rajya Sabha member R. Vaithilingam from the party for "anti-party activities".
Mr. Vaithilingam had said yesterday that General Council of the AIADMK would be convened soon to expel the jailed Ms. Sasikala. Her expulsion was one of the key demands made by the Panneerselvam camp before it agreed to the merger between the two factions.
Meanwhile, the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has urged the Governor to ask Mr. Palaniswami to seek a trust vote in view of today's developments.
DMK Working President M. K. Stalin said in a letter to the Governor that the withdrawal of support by the 19 MLAs had created a crisis because the government had lost its majority. He said any delay in asking the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the House would mean continuance of an unconstutitional government. He also felt this would pave the way for horse-trading.
The AIADMK has 134 members in the 234-member assembly, in which one seat, R. K. Nagar, is vacant following the death of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in December 2016. If the 19 MLAs withdraw their support, the government will have 115 members, two short of the number required for a simple majority.