In new twists and turns in political developments in Tamil Nadu, an AIADMK MLA owing allegiance to the Dinakaran faction on Thursday defected to the Chief Minister’s camp while three others went to Dinakaran’s side when he met Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao and demanded an immediate floor test in the Assembly for the government.
S.T.K. Jakkaiyan, MLA from Cumbum, deserted the Dinakaran faction and met Speaker Dhanapal and conveyed to him that he was backing Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy since he did not want the DMK to exploit the “internal problems” of the AIADMK and bring harm to the government.
Jakkaiyan, who was one of the 19 MLAs belonging to the Dinakaran faction that had met the Governor a fortnight ago and gave a memorandum saying that the they have lost confidence in the chief minister, appeared before the Speaker on Thursday morning in response to a notice to them to show cause why they should not be disqualified under the anti-defection law for their action before the Governor.
He admitted to reporters that he was with Dinakaran some time ago because of the inner party wranglings and went to the Governor. “But now exploiting the family problems of AIADMK, the DMK was trying to bring harm to the government. We have to go by the majority view. It should not benefit the DMK. We have to resolve our problems within.”
On the other hand, the Dinakaran faction got a boost when three MLAs, who had won on AIADMK tickets and kept neutrality so far, joined him in the delegation when it called on the Governor. The three MLAs who accompanied Dinakaran were Karunas, Kalaiselvan and Rathinasabhapathi. Seven MPs also were part of the delegation.
Dinakaran told reporters later that they told the Governor that the chief minister has lost majority which has been proved by the fact that he did not have the 117 MLAs required for a simple majority when they did not attend the MLAs meeting convened by Palaniswamy two days ago.
In the present situation, the Governor should ask the chief minister to prove his majority by facing a trial of strength in the Assembly. Otherwise unhealthy practices like horse trading will flourish, Dinakaran said.
He claimed that the Governor told him that he was following developments in the state and he would “soon take a good decision”.
Asked about the Governor’s reported remarks to an opposition delegation some days ago that the ball was not in his court because it was an internal affair of the AIADMK, Dinakaran said the Governor has now changed his stance. “It is not an internal matter. I will take a good decision soon. I will do my duty,” he quoted the Governor has saying.
When queried whether there was any time frame given by the Governor, Dinakaran said the Governor promised them he would take a decision soon but it would not be proper for him to comment on it any further.
Asked to comment on reports that the Palaniswamy-O Panneerselvam combine was running the government with the backing of the BJP-led Central government, Dinakaran said he cannot comment on the BJP without any confirmation.
“When our own people have become betrayers, I cannot blame others,” he said.
Asked about the defection of Jakkaiyan from his camp, Dinakaran said he was anticipating this because he was asking me for the position of Headquarters Secretary and a minister’s post. “One MLA may go but there are sleeper cells among the MLAs on the other side who would back him at the time of reckoning.”
He said Jakkaiyan told him on Wednesday night that he was getting threat calls and inducements like minister’s post.
Dinakaran claimed that the present AIADMK government was the object of hate among the people of the state and it was in evidence during the protests against the NEET exam in the wake of the suicide by medical aspirant Anitha last week.
There was so much anger against the government that the chief minister and the deputy chief minister dared not go to Ariyalur near Tiruchirappalli where the body of Anitha was lying. “The fact that Anitha’s father, a poor labourer, refused to take government’s aid shows the anger against the government,” he claimed.
In the Tamil Nadu Assembly with an effective strength of 233, the number of MLAs against the government now
stood at 119. This includes 89 of DMK and 9 of its allies Congress and Muslim League. The Dinakaran camp claims the support of at least 21 MLAs.