Rebel AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran said today that his MLA Vettrivel impleaded himself in the case filed by DMK leader in the Madras High Court mainly to stop the Tamil Nadu Speaker from disqualifying him and other rebel MLAs ahead of trust vote.
“It does not mean we have a political nexus with Stalin”, he told reporters.
He said Vettrivel was given an appointment to meet the Speaker between 3 and 4 p.m. on Thursday. However, Advocate General Vijaya Narayanan told the court at 2.15 p.m that the process of disqualification had already begun. He made this submission in response to Stalin’s petition for an immediate floor test.
Dinakaran said: “We learnt that the Speaker planned to disqualify us by Monday and call the Assembly within days thereafter. This was confirmed by Vijaya Narayanan’s submission. That was why we impleaded ourselves to protect our interest”.
Dinakaran also pointed out that while Stalin’s prayer was for an immediate floor test, “we got it stayed till Sept 20 by the court”.
Justice M Duraiswamy passed the interim restraint order after Vettrivel said in his petition that the Speaker had already started the disqualification process and he would be left with no time to challenge any adverse finding if the Assembly was allowed to meet immediately.
Thereupon, the judge said:” I am of the view that the authorities shall not conduct a trust vote till Sept 20”.
Dinakaran asserted, “This government will go by next week”. Explaining why he had to strike immediately, he said 19 rebel MLAs staying in Kodagu in Karnataka were being harassed by plainclothesmen from Tamil Nadu to support the Government or face action.
Already, the police had filed a case against dissident MLA Senthil Balaji after he told reporters in Kodagu that they were offered upto Rs 20,000 crore to cross over to the Government side.
The Tamil Nadu police went after them in the pretext of looking for another MLA and former Minister Palaniappan in connection with suicide by a Government contractor.
In view of these developments, “Vettrivel told the Speaker that the other rebel MLAs are also ready to meet him with their response to his disqualification notice provided they are allowed to come with Karnataka police protection”, he said.
Dinakaran said that initially 19 MLAs met the Governor and told him they were withdrawing support to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami.“Since then our strength has increased to 21, when he met the Governor last week, he told him that they were against the Government, and not just the Chief Minister. The Governor sought time to take a call.
He said:” I have given him one week and he is yet to decide. The time has come for me to take the next step. This Palanisami and Co Government will be sent packing in a week”.
Though Dinakaran denied he has any understanding with Stalin, it is obvious that they are working together on the basis “my enemy’s enemy is a friend”.
Both are in a hurry. Stalin is in his mid-60s and he has waited long enough for the coveted Chief Minister’s post. It is now or never for Dinakaran as Edappadi has shown at the first general council meeting after the merger of the two factions that the party is with him and that will have a bearing on fence-sitters among dissidents.
In his petition,Vettrivel said that he and 18 other dissident MLAs were served with disqualification notice by the Speaker, at the behest of the Chief Minister, after they met the Governor on Aug 22 and told him that they were withdrawing support to the Government.” In view of the writ petition filed by Stalin, a floor test may be called any day and the Speaker may disqualify me and other (dissident) legislators on the eve of the trust vote”, he represented to the court.
Stalin’s counsel Kapil Sibal said “the Governor and the Chief Minister are acting in tandem, Horse trading is going on. The Speaker may disqualify opposing legislators and conduct the floor test”.
Contending that the government had lost majority after the withdrawal of support by 19 ruling party MLAs, he said” it will be a travesty of justice if this minority government is allowed to continue through unconstitutional means”