Chennai, September 18: Today Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P.Dhanapal disqualified 18 AIADMK MLAs belonging to TTV.Dhinakaran’s faction. This action was taken under anti-defection and disqualification rules of 1986 formed in accordance with the tenth schedule of the constitution, said a statement from Assembly Secretary K. Bhoopathy.
The MLAs who have been disqualified with effect from today are Thangatamilselvan, R. Murugan, Mariappan Kennedy, K. Kathirkamu, C. Jayanthi Padmanabhan, P. Palaniappan, V. Senthil Balaji, S. Muthiah, P. Vetrivel, N.G. Parthiban, M. Kothandapani, T.A. Elumalai, M. Rengasamy, R. Thangadurai, R. Balasubramani, S.G. Subramanian, R. Sundarraj and K. Uma Maheswari. Announcing this, Assembly Secretary K. Boopathy said in an official release that since the Speaker has disqualified them under Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, the 18 AIADMK MLAs have lost their MLA posts.
Earlier in the month of August, these MLAs met Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar and conveyed that they had lost confidence in Chief Minister Palaniswami and since been demanding the removal of Chief Minister. The meeting had come a day after the merger of the two factions led by Palaniswami and now Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. Opposition parties have since been insisting the governor direct a floor test for the Palaniswami government for proving its majority in the assembly.
With the disqualification of the 18 MLAs, the collective strength of legislators in the 234-member House has come down to 215 (including the seat that fell vacant after the demise of Jayalalithaa). Mr Palaniswami now needs the support of just 108 MLAs, excluding that of the Speaker, to prove his majority and he can easily sail through a floor test.