CHENNAI: Mr Radhamani, DMK MLA representing Vikravandi Assembly constituency in Villlupuram district, passed away on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Postgraduate Medical and Educational Research (JIPMER) in neighbouring Puducherry union territory, where he was under treatment.
Radhamani, a bachelor, was 67. He was undergoing treatment for cancer for over a year now and was re-admitted to JIPMER on Thursday, sources said. With his death, the number of DMK MLAs' in the house dropped to 100. The party's strength had recently gone up to 101 after it won 13 of the 22 Assembly by-polls.
Along with its allies Congress, which has now seven MLAs following the resignation of H Vasanth Kumar from Nanguneri constituency after his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanniyakumari, and IUML having one member, the combined strength of DMK and its allies in the 234-member House now stands at 108.
They are still short of the magical halfway mark of 118 by ten members as on Friday.
Expressing deep shock and pain at the demise of Radhamani, the DMK president M K Stalin rushed to JIPMER earlier in the day to pay his last respects.
While the mood in the DMK is one of deep grief, sooner rather than later the party leadership would turn its mind on pressing for early by-elections to two more Assembly seats, which are due now in the post-Lok Sabha polls context.
The DMK would be keen to complete the by-elections quickly, more so in the backdrop of its earlier resentment over the Election Commission (EC) staggering the earlier set of by-elections that were due when Lok Sabha polls were called.
However, this latest development has come as a breather to the ruling AIADMK, which is now formally part of the BJP-led NDA. With the entire opposition in the country accusing the EC with being a 'handmaid' of the BJP, the AIADMK here may take comfort in EC taking its time to hold these two by-elections.
Notwithstanding the EC's stand, the DMK also is likely to contemplate other moves once the Assembly is convened. It could put moral pressure on the Edappadi K Palaniswami government to seek a confidence vote, putting the ruling part in a dilemma. Still, as of now, the AIADMK's numbers in the House at 121 is still relatively better off, over the required 118-seats mark.
This includes three AIADMK MLAs' who during the recent poll campaign faced the prospect of action by the Speaker following their association with dissident MLA TTV Dhinakaran.