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Resort Politics Returns in Tamil Nadu as Dinakaran Checks-in Disqualified MLAs Ahead of HC Verdict

The decision to shift the disqualified legislators comes just hours after Dinakaran met Sasikala at Bengaluru prison amid reports that the E Palanisami and O Panneerselvam government is trying to poach the MLAs loyal to Dinakaran.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:October 22, 2018, 5:50 PM IST
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Chennai: Rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran has instructed all but one of the 18 disqualified MLAs in his camp to move to a resort near the Tirunelveli district as politics heats up in Tamil Nadu with speculations that the Madras High Court might decide on their fate this week.

According to sources, all the rebel MLAs barring P Vetrivel are likely to remain holed up at a resort in Courtallam till the verdict comes out.

The decision to shift the disqualified legislators comes just hours after Dinakaran met Sasikala at Bengaluru prison amid reports that the E Palanisami and O Panneerselvam government is trying to poach the MLAs loyal to Dinakaran.

Justice M Satyanarayana, the third judge who was appointed by the Supreme Court to be the tie-breaker in the case, had reserved his verdict earlier. The Madras High Court had on June 14 given a split verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of the 18 legislators, in a breather for the state government.

The verdict is being watched closely in political circles in the state as well as at the national stage since it has the potential to decide the future course of politics in Tamil Nadu.

If the verdict upholds the disqualification, by-elections will be held on all the seats that would be vacant and it would be an acid test for the AIADMK government, whose popularity has been on the decline since the demise of J Jayalalithaa, as evidenced by the result of the RK Nagar bypoll last year.

However, if the Speaker’s decision to disqualify the MLAs is reversed, the EPS government would plunge into a minority and it would have to face a floor test.

The 18 MLAs, who owe allegiance to Dinakaran, were disqualified from their membership after they submitted a letter to then Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao, expressing no confidence in CM Palaniswami.

In more trouble for the EPS-OPS government, four more MLAs who contested under the AIADMK symbol have also pledged their support to Dinakaran. One of them, Karunas, had sent a notice to the secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly, seeking the removal of Speaker P Dhanapal.

The ruling AIADMK has a strength of 116 MLAs excluding the Speaker but including the four who have now revolted.

While 18 MLAs owing allegiance to Dinakaran were disqualified, the DMK has 89 MLAs, its allies Congress has eight and the IUML has one in the 234-member strong House. Dinakaran got elected from RK Nagar last year and is the lone Independent member of the House.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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