Factionalism in AIADMK is apparently far from over. Around 19 MLAs who support the sidelined deputy general secretary of the party, TTV Dhinakaran, met the governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday morning and withdrew their support to Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami. This comes just a day after Palaniswami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam ended weeks of uncertainty and struck a merger deal.
The 19 MLAs, who submitted a memorandum to the governor to withdraw their support to chief minister Palaniswami, requested him “to intervene and initiate a constitutional process”, saying he has lost their confidence.
“We don’t have confidence in the Chief Minister. What is the need to give the deputy chief minister’s post to Panneerselvam, who had levelled charges of corruption against this government earlier,” an MLA, who was part of the team that met the Governor, said requesting anonymity.
He said 122 AIADMK MLAs had supported Palaniswami at the behest of jailed party chief VK Sasikala during the 18 February trust vote, while Panneerselvam had voted against the government.
He said the Chief Minister should have held consultations with all the party MLAs before the merger of the two factions. “So we have briefed the Governor and said that the Chief Minister should be removed,” the MLA added.
The MLA lashed out at Panneerselvam, alleging that he had accepted the merger “only for posts” and asked if this was the Deputy Chief Minister’s “dharma yudh” as claimed by him earlier.
The four-page letter of the MLAs says, they “got disillusioned with the functioning of the government headed by Palaniswami as there has been abuse of power, favouritism, misuse of government machinery, widespread corruption”. For the past four months, allegations of corruption have been levelled against Palaniswami from various sections, they said.
Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that the meeting took place between the MLAs and the Governor, but did not divulge details, including about the number of the delegation.
On Monday, around 18 MLAs were reported to have attended a meeting held by Dhinakaran, the party’s deputy general secretary and nephew of party chief V. K. Sasikala, at his residence.
One of the MLAs, P. Vetrivel, had last night claimed that Dhinakaran enjoyed the support of 25 MLAs.
Meanwhile, the opposition demanded ouster of the chief minister and called for a trust vote.
“In the wake of 22 MLAs withdrawing support for CM, we demand for a no-confidence motion,” DMK Executive President, MK Stalin, threatened to topple the government and asked for “trust vote.”
Stalin said, “AIADMK government is using force to crush protest, but DMK will not quietly watch such acts. This government will be democratically toppled.”
In the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the AIADMK has 134 MLAs, excluding the Speaker. Late chief minister Jayalalithaa’s R.K. Nagar constituency is still vacant.
The Opposition DMK has 89 seats, followed by its allies, Congress with eight, and IUML one seat.