Chennai: In an unusual development, Tamil Nadu will not have an opposition leader in the State Assembly for the next few months.
A day after the DMDK founder Vijayakanth expressed his political ambition of becoming the “king” in Tamil Nadu politics, his party DMDK lost its status of major opposition party in the 234-member Assembly as 10 dissident MLAs, including 8 from DMDK, resigned their membership.
Vijayakanth also lost recognition as Opposition Leader in the Assembly following the resignation of DMDK rebel legislators.
The DMDK leader Vijayakanth had proclaimed on Saturday that his supporters want him to be the “king and not the kingmaker” in Tamil Nadu politics at the party conference in Kancheepuram. Developments unfolded rapidly on Sunday with the resignation of 8 DMDK legislators, who had been allotted seats away from the DMDK block, which used to enjoy principal the status of Principal Opposition party in the Assembly. Besides the 8 MLAs, two other rebel MLAs submitted their resignation letters to the Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal.
The resignation of 10 MLAs comes ahead of the Assembly elections due in May this year, just a day after the 14th Assembly session concluded (on Saturday).
The Speaker accepted the resignation of C. Arun Pandian, M. Arun Subramanian, K. Pandiarajan, K. Tamil Azhagan, S. Michael Rayappan, R. Sundarrajan, T. Suresh Kumar and R. Santhi all of DMDK and A. Ramasamy (Puthiya Tamizhagam) and Kalai Arasu (PMK).
The rebels had shifted their allegiance in the last few years to the ruling AIADMK.
The rebels may be expected to formally join the ruling AIADMK in the run-up to the Assembly elections.
Following an eventful Sunday, DMDK’s strength came down to 20 in the House. DMDK won 29 seats in alliance with AIADMK during the 2011 Assembly elections and earned the status of the ‘Principal Opposition party’ relegating the DMK (with 23 seats) to the third position for the first time in TN electoral history.
However, its deputy opposition leader, the former Alandur MLA Panrutty S. Ramachandran, resigned in 2014 to join the AIADMK, bringing down DMDK’s strength to 28. Vijayakanth snapped ties with AIADMK later.
Speaker Dhanapal announced on Sunday that Vijayakanth has lost his status as ‘Opposition Leader’ as his party strength in the Assembly declined to 20.
“DMDK’s Vijayakanth no longer qualifies to be recognised as Opposition Leader under Assembly rule 2 (o),” an official release stated.