One more dissident AIADMK legislator, Vriddhachalam V T Kalaiselvan, on Wednesday ditched breakaway leader and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary T T V Dinakaran, to save his seat and returned to the ruling AIADMK's fold.
Kalaiselvan, Aranthangi legislator E Ratgbasabapathi and Kallukurichi member Prabahu were the three rebel legislators against whom Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal sought to initiate disqualification proceedings as they openly campaigned for Dinakaran’s AMMK in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls and 22 Assembly byelections.
Kalaiselvan and Prabhu challenged the show-cause notice dated April 30 served on them and got a stay a stay in the Supreme Court. The DMK also moved the apex court to restrain the Speaker from going ahead with the disqualification move as its leader M K Stalin had given notice of no-confidence motion against him. As the AMMK drew a blank, the DMK distanced itself from it and Stalin withdrew the letter of no-confidence against the Speaker. Simultaneously, Dinakaran’s right hand man Thanga Tamilselvan joined the DMK.
Kalaiselvan’s move to deserted Dinakaran is in keeping with this trend. The other rebel legislators Prabhu and Rathnasapabathi have also signalled to the AIDMK leader and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami their willing to stay loyal to the party. Talking to reporters after meeting Palanisami at the Secretariat, Kalaiselvan said he went with Dinakaran because of his difference with fellow party men at the district level, but at no point did he agree to toppling this government which was established by late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha.
With assurance of support by Kalaiselvan, the AIADMK’s strength in the 234 has gone up to 123, five more than the half way mark. As the rebels returning to the party fold, the Supreme Court did not take up for hearing the appeal by DMK whip Chakrapani against the Madras high court’s refusal to direct the Speaker to initiate disciplinary proceedings against O Pannerselvam and 10 other MLAs who voted against the present Government in February 2017.
As the petition could not taken up as judges who heard it partly had retired. The Supreme Court then announced that the appeal would be heard by a new bench of Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai. The case was not taken up on Wednesday as earlier expected. The Speaker while disqualifying the 19 pro-Dinakaran members even though they voted for the government in the trust vote, refused to take note of the defiance of the whip by Pannerselvam and 10 of his supporting MLAs.
They saved their seat as Pannerselvam merged his faction with the Edappadi group in August in 2017, and the general council endorsed it the next month. As a result, the Election Commission recognized the merged identity as the AIADMK with right to use name, flag and symbol.
It was a mortal blow to Dinakaran. But he tried to keep his flock together by claiming that the cadre were with him. That was also proved wrong in the just ended elections. Hence the desertions from his camp.