Chennai: The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu Friday approached Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal for "due legal action" against three of its MLAs for alleged anti-party activities in the backdrop of them siding with rival leader and AMMK chief TTV Dhinakaran.
Chief Government Whip S Rajendran submitted a petition to the speaker seeking action against MLAs A Prabu (Kallakurichi), E Rathinasabapathy (Aranthangi) and V T Kalaiselvan (Vriddhachalam).
The move has sparked speculation about another round of disqualification of the ruling party legislators after Dhanapal had stripped 18 pro-Dhinakaran AIADMK MLAs of their assembly membership in September 2017 under the anti-defection law.
The 18 were disqualified for revolting against Chief Minister K Palaniswami in August 2017, after he merged the faction led by him with the group headed by then rebel leader O Panneerselvam, now the state deputy chief minister. "I have submitted a petition with the speaker against Prabu, Rathinasabapathy and Kalaiselvan for indulging in anti-party activities and have sought due legal action," Rajendran told reporters here. Asked if the "legal action" meant disqualifying the three, he said the speaker should decide on that.
The whip said he has attached "photo proof" of the "anti-party" activities of the MLAs. These include "holding positions" and records of events they had participated, apparently related to the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam. However, he did not elaborate. A similar complaint of anti-party activities was given against the three earlier as well, but more proof was attached on Friday, Rajendran said. Asked if the ruling party's move was prompted by any "fear of defeat" in the polls, Lok Sabha as well as assembly by-elections to 22 constituencies, he shot back saying the AIADMK will all the seats. Thirty-eight Lok Sabha seats and 18 assembly segments went to polls on April 18 while bypoll to elect another four MLAs is slated for May 19.
The results of all would be announced on May 23. The outcome of the assembly bypolls could have a bearing on the continuance of the two-year old Palaniswami government and the AIADMK would need to win at least ten of them to be in the comfort zone. In the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly with 22 vacancies, the AIADMK has a strength of 113, excluding the speaker. The simple majority mark in the full House is 117. The principal opposition DMK along with its allies, including Congress, has 97 MLAs.
Incidentally, two MLAs of AIADMK allies, designated as party members in the assembly records as they contested on its symbol, have shown signs of stress with the ruling party. Legislator S Karunaas, leader of Mukkulathor Puli Padai, has been anti-government for some time, while Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi MLA M Thamimun Ansari, a strident critic of the BJP, backed the DMK-led alliance in the Lok Sabha polls after AIADMK struck a poll pact with the saffron party.