AIADMK power struggle: Madras HC says no floor test before September 20

Time & Us
Last Updated: September 14, 2017 at 11:55 pm

The order by Madras high court came on a petition by expelled AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran, who claims he has the support of enough MLAs to bring down the government.
The Madras high court on Thursday ordered that no floor test will be conducted in the Tamil Nadu assembly before September 20 while hearing a petition by expelled AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran, who claims he has the support of enough MLAs to bring down the government led by chief minister E Palaniswami.
The opposition DMK has also been demanding a floor test. Dinakaran and DMK leader MK Stalin fear that the 19 dissident MLAs could be disqualified and a confidence vote could be held in a hurried manner.
The order came a day after the newly merged AIADMK removed Dinakaran and his aunt, jailed ex-party chief VK Sasikala, from all posts and scrapped all appointments made by them. Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, who came together last month, announced that an 11-member committee would steer the party from now.
Dinakaran claims the support of 19 MLAs, enough to bring down the government in a 234-member assembly where the majority mark is 117 and the AIADMK has 134 MLAs. But in recent weeks, the Palaniswami camp has been bolstered by a steady stream of defections from the Dinakaran camp.
The court’s ruling will prevent any change in the composition of the assembly.
It asked the government’s representative whether any action has been taken against the MLAs from the Dinakaran faction and directed him to clarify on the issue before Thursday evening.
Advocate general for Tamil Nadu Vijay Narayan told the court that the assembly speaker has already initiated an action against the MLAs and the court could not intervene in the powers of the legislature.
“What the action would be against the MLAs could not be said at this stage as the action is still underway and no decision has been taken till now,” Narayan said.
P Vetrivel, a senior MLA of the Dinakaran camp, has already met the speaker twice in connection with the notice issued to the MLAs for an explanation, the deadline of which runs out Thursday.
According to sources, the 19 MLAs could be disqualified for taking a stand contrary to that of the ruling party, which is backing chief minister Palaniswami. The speaker is well within his rights to take an action but it would be challenged in a court of law, they added. If need be in Supreme Court, said a lawyer who was present at the court proceedings.
Earlier in the day, Dinakaran faction met the officials from the Elections Commission and requested them to declare the recently-conducted general council meeting of the AIADMK party null and void.
Sources said acting Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao reach Chennai on Monday.