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Responding to OPS-EPS merger, TTV Dhinakaran camp pulls support to target CM

Amid fast-paced developments, Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam was announced to have been removed from all posts, including his membership with the party.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 22, 2017, 03.41 PM IST
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Supporters of TTV Dhinakaran while talking to reporters said their loss of trust stemmed partly from Panneerselvam joining hands with the faction he had criticised for corrupt practices.
Supporters of TTV Dhinakaran while talking to reporters said their loss of trust stemmed partly from Panneerselvam joining hands with the faction he had criticised for corrupt practices.
CHENNAI: The top order shuffle in the government and the AIADMK after O Panneerselvam decided to merge with the ruling faction has led to legislators allying TTV Dhinakaran to register withdrawal of their support to Edappadi K Palaniswami in individual letters to Governor Vidyasagar Rao ahead of his flight back to Mumbai Tuesday morning.

Leader of Opposition MK Stalin has demanded that the chief minister prove his majority on the floor of the assembly, besides pointing out to the governor that his counterpart in Karnataka had directed the then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to conduct a floor test to prove his majority after the state legislature found itself in similar conditions. In his letter, Stalin mentioned 22 legislators had pulled out their support to Palaniswami.

Supporters of TTV Dhinakaran while talking to reporters said their loss of trust stemmed partly from Panneerselvam joining hands with the faction he had criticised for corrupt practices. Legislator Thanga Tamilselvan, a Dhinakaran loyalist, told reporters: "We were never consulted about the merger. What is the hurry to merge with a faction that had only 10 MLAs?," he questioned.

Amid fast-paced developments, Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam was announced to have been removed from all posts, including his membership with the party, through a press release from TTV Dhinakaran; Vaithilingam had earlier said VK Sasikala would be removed from the party, as was the demand from the OPS factions. Vaithilingam responded to the announcement saying it would not be binding as Dhinakaran's position in the party itself in on shaky ground.

Through many press interactions after the legislators pulled support, spokespersons from the TTV Dhinakaran camp said ministers for the state cabinet were chosen in an insulated manner, keeping out legislators who had claimed allegiance with Sasikala and Dhinakaran.

Even as developments emerged, the two leaders Palaniswami and Panneerselvam went into a huddle at the state secretariat to discuss the way forward. A senior leader in the O Panneerselvam-Palaniswami combine C Ponnaiyyan said: "They may speak many things but I don't believe they have intentions to topple the government."

The legislators withdrawing support to Palaniswami pointed out to a precedent in the Balachandra Jarkiholi and others Vs BS Yeddyurappa, in the which the supreme court reversed the disqualification of dissenting legislators in the Yeddyurappa government. Back in 2010, MLAs in the Yeddyurappa-led government wrote the Governor HR Bharadwaj expressing their "disillusionment" with the government, much similar to the circumstance in Tamil Nadu now. The chief minister responded with an application seeking disqualification of 11 MLAs, for which the speaker disqualified the MLAs and the state high court upheld the move by the speaker.

As the situation progressed through noon, rumour started flying that more defections from the EPS-OPS combine to the Dhinakaran camp could be in the offing, and that a sequestering reminiscent of VK Sasikala's move after Panneerselvam rebelled may also take place in Tamil Nadu.
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