Thirteen newly elected DMK members of the Tamil Nadu Assembly took oath on Monday, taking the party’s strength to 101 in a house of 234.
Speaker P Dhanapal administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new MLAs in his chamber at the Secretariat. Leader of the Opposition and DMK president M K Stalin and senior leader T R Baalu attended the function.
These members won in the by-election to the 22 Assembly seats held along with the Lok Sabha polls. The ruling AIADMK won the remaining nine seats, taking it past the halfway mark with a tally of 119. The newly elected AIADMK members are expected to take oath in the coming days.
The bypoll victories have helped the AIADMK get simple majority. It also has the unconditional support of three more MLAs who got elected on the AIADMK symbol and have since turned against the Government.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly is meeting some time in June when the strength of the Edappadi Government will be put to test through a no-confidence motion the DMK has given notice of against Speaker Dhanapal.
Though the DMK has increased its number to 101, its ally Congress’s strength has come down to seven with MLA Vasanth Kumar getting elected to the Lok Sabha. Besides, the DMK has the support of an IUML member, taking the opposition tally to 108. Still 10 short of majority.
As the Edappadi Government also has only a precarious majority, Stalin is expected to go ahead with the no-trust move against the Speaker, hoping cross-voting will bring down this Government.
Stalin gave notice of the no-confidence against Dhanapal after the AIADMK Government sought to disqualify three more potentially rebel legislators. The Supreme Court has stayed the notice issued to these MLAs and given time for the Speaker to respond.