Indian politics Amid political uncertainty, Madras HC stays Tamil Nadu floor test until 04 October!

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (L), AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran (C) and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami (R). Credit: The Indian Express

Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

The power struggle in Tamil Nadu that ensued following the sudden death of the ruling AIADMK supremo and the then CM Jayalalithaa has already had its toll of conflict for power and tarnished the image of the party and government. An impression has been created that politicians want the power to advance their interests by fooling the people and taking their mandate in polls as a routine matter.

Sasikala and Dinakaran continue to fight for power by removing the incumbent AAIDMK government notwithstanding upset in the process and even when there is no possibility of getting to Madras Fort now or ever. One is not very sure if DMK has offered him any such hopes.

Nine months after the death of their beloved leader Jayalalithaa, a smooth transition within the AIADMK into some form of steady leadership wasn’t necessarily a sure bet, but given they are the ruling party, it was imperative. Instead, the party, which certainly had some fault lines as Jayalalithaa was in the hospital, broke into factions after her death, each jostling for control. In the meantime, its then secretary was sent to jail, and people looked for an opening.

Within hours of Jayalalithaa’s death, O Panneerselvam was sworn-in as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, then resigning a couple of months later as Sasikala took charge as Panneerselvam remained as an interim. Then came what could be seen as a scene from a movie; Panneerselvam is meditating at the memorial of Jayalalithaa, saying shortly after that “she called out to him” and that he went there to “search my conscience.” It was then the war on Sasikala. The Hindustan Times editorial states that the general council meeting shows a precarious power balance

The revolt by Panneerselvam against Sasikala’s coup attempt changed everything, and the scenario kept evolving in speed.

The Madras High Court, before the council meeting, dismissed an appeal from the Dhinakaran camp to halt the meeting. As someone who is insistent on forming the party on the ideals and image of Jayalalithaa, he criticized the current administration for abandoning the ideals of the former CM; citing the NEET issue which she was strongly against. In the midst of this drama, the party could give the opening the DMK needs to take advantage. A situation where MK Stalin and his party cadres quietly plot their next move while internal fights plague the AIADMK is a possibility.

The BJP, trying to capture some space in Tamil Nadu once again, could also be looking at this with keen interest.

The crisis in the AIADMK has its origin in the merger of factions led by Chief Minister Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, who later became Deputy Chief Minister and their decision to sack party boss VK Sasikala and her deputy TTV Dhinakaran who earlier gave the public the impression that he is keen to reunite the ruling AIADMK party, but now it is clear he is eager to oust the ruling party from power even if that does not benefit him or his aunt Sasikala- the conspirator in chief, in any manner.

To strengthen the government and party, EPS and OPS reunited along with their supporters, and in an exclusive meeting of the party, both Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran were removed from the party and posts, all actions by Dinakaran were canceled, thereby clearing the way for restructuring the party.

Obviously, Dinakaran and supporters have reason to be angry. Their real anger is that CM Palaniswamy co-opted Sasikala’s arch-foe O.Panneerselvam into his government offering him a second position in the government as DY chief minister and also made him the Coordinator of the party after dissolving the post of General Secretary. OPS and EPS factions also have created a permanent post of GS and reserved it for their leader Jayalalithaa posthumously.


Tamil Nadu speaker P Dhanapal had disqualified 18 legislators from the ruling party’s faction led by TTV Dhinakaran, citing anti-defection rules under Schedule 10 of the Constitution. The 18 dissident AIADMK MLAs were disqualified as they “distanced” themselves from their party and fell “into the control of persons outside their party” besides aligning with the DMK.

The rebel MLAs and Dinakaran went to the courts against the disqualification, and in an interim order, Dhinakaran camp said that they had asked the Speaker for the documents regarding the disqualification of the 18 MLAs, but the Speaker replied that it was not necessary to show the documents. Why no committee was constituted according to laws of Assembly to enquire MLAs. Speaker is influenced by somebody: TV Dinakaran’s lawyer MLAs didn’t vote against a party or resigned. Speaker depriving the right of MLAs: TTV Dinakaran’s lawyer.

Last week, the high court had stayed any trust vote until 20 September in response to a DMK plea.

The Palaniswamy government would have had the majority after the disqualification of 18 rebel MLAs, The Tamil Nadu government led by Palaniswamy could have won the floor test after the disqualification of the 18 MLAs. With the stay on the floor test, the situation has become difficult for them. Even as the ruling Palaniswamy camp was preparing for the floor test to win it, in a huge blow to the Palaniswamy camp, Madras High Court has blocked the floor test in the Tamil Nadu assembly by the ruling AIADMK party till further orders. Judge Duraisamy said that no floor test would happen till the case is disposed off. Justice Duraisamy stayed the floor test while hearing the petition from Dhinakaran camp legislators. The judge, while extending the stay on a floor test, also ordered that no by-elections will be held to the seats rendered vacant by the disqualification of MLAs.
The disqualification clearly gives the Tamil Nadu government an advantage in the Assembly. With the disqualification, the total strength of the AIADMK in the Assembly has come down to 116. Of the total 234 legislators, the number is now 231 excluding Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi and the Speaker. With 18 MLAs disqualified, the total number of seats in the House comes down to 213 and thus the halfway mark is 106. The merged faction of AIADMK has the support of 114 MLAs which is more than the required numbers to form the majority. Anti-defection law being misused by speaker: TTV Dinakaran’s lawyer Dushyant Dave in Madras HC on disqualification of 18 MLAs from Assembly.

October 04Madras HC has directed no election notification to seats of 18 disqualified MLAs.

Madras HC has directed no election notification to seats of 18 disqualified MLAs. No stay on the disqualification. Case adjourned to 4 October. The Dinakaran case has been adjourned till 4 October.
As it stands, the Madras High Court was set to take up the issue of disqualification of 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs and DMK’s plea on floor test in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on October 04.

Shortly after, Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao had met Union home minister Rajnath Singh. During the 20-minute meeting, the governor is believed to have apprised the home minister about the current political developments in the southern state, officials said. The disqualified MLAs had recently told the governor that they had no confidence in Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswamy, and had accused him of being corrupt.
Senior Congress leader and former Finance cum Home minister P Chidambaram dubbed as “blatantly partisan” the decision of the Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker and said that it was aimed at helping the minority state government, which he described as a “sinking ship”. In a series of tweets, he also said the decision was taken to “manufacture” a majority for the “paralyzed” state government and called Tamil Nadu a “theatre of the absurd”.


The Dhinakaran camp is reportedly saying that a floor test should not take place after the MLAs have been disqualified. Opposition DMK has been demanding a floor test for the Palaniswamy government.
Meanwhile, sources said that about 100 Opposition MLAs had planned to put in their papers, a move which was seen as an attempt to put pressure on the governor to dissolve the state Assembly and call for fresh polls.
However, later in the day, DMK spokesperson A Saravanan had said that no mass resignation was in order. “The move would only help the EPS-OPS faction, we can only appeal against the disqualification,” he said. “It’s a victory for democracy. It has defeated the EPS government’s plan to disqualify them (rebel MLAs) and call for a floor test to make a backdoor entry to govern the state,” said A Saravanan, spokesperson of the opposition DMK which has been trying to milk the AIADMK’s internal crisis.

Dushyant Dave, the counsel for the rebel lawmakers, argued that the disqualification is illegal. Though the lawmakers had withdrawn support to Chief Minister Palaniswami and sought his replacement, they clarified in the letter to the Governor that they remained in the party and are not withdrawing support to the government. The rebel lawmakers also cited a similar case in the neighbouring Karnataka where the court had ultimately quashed the disqualification of MLAs by the Karnataka Speaker. He recalled that the Speaker did not disqualify the 12 legislators from the O Panneerselvam camp in the party who had voted against the Palaniswami government during the floor test in February. This, he said, suggested the Speaker could be biased to ensure comfortable majority for Chief Minister EPS.

Reddy brothers in connivances with the government have been looting the natural resources of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. AIADMK leader Apsara Reddy said that the Palaniswamy camp is working at the behest of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

Opposition DMK and its working president MK Stalin to hold crucial meeting as soon as the Madras High Court MK argues that confidence motion must not be held until the case is disposed of on 4 Oct Tamil Nadu in the dock as politicians stay busy with headcount Merger.

Chief Minister Palaniswami has the support of 113 lawmakers and would have flunked the trust vote if the rebels, loyal to VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, had been allowed to vote. The Speaker’s disqualification order had brought down the strength of the assembly to 214. The government’s 113 MLAs would have been well above the 107 half-way mark at 107.

The latest crisis within the party has its origin in the merger of factions led by Chief Minister Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, who later became Deputy Chief Minister.

One of the conditions for the merger deal was that the party should throw out its general secretary Sasikala and her deputy TTV Dhinakaran. Once the AIADMK leaders made this change, the 18 lawmakers quickly withdrew support to the Chief Minister and demanded that Mr. Palaniswami is replaced.

The disqualification order had insured the EPS government against any embarrassment if the ruling AIADMK government had to prove its majority in a floor test, as demanded by the main opposition party DMK last month.
DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said that no mass resignation was in order. “The move would only help the EPS-OPS faction; we can only appeal against the disqualification,” he said. Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Tuesday attacked Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal decision to disqualify 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs as “blatantly partisan” to help the minority government and said the state had become a “theatre of the absurd.”
Dhinakaran, a shrewd manipulator, calls their failure to come to power as being ‘murder of democracy’ in TN and wants the Federal government run by the BJP not to close its eyes to what is happening in the state. Dhinakaran described as “murder of democracy” Speaker P Dhanapal disqualifying the 18 legislators owing allegiance to him and said he did not expect such an action from the former. The Dhinakaran faction, besides Opposition including DMK, have been since urging Rao to direct a floor test of the Palaniswami government. He also said the BJP-led central government “should not close its eyes to this murder.” The Congress today questioned the “huge delay” by the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker and the Governor in disqualifying 18 AIADMK lawmakers under the anti-defection law, saying the decision is liable to be challenged in court. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said every political party was monitoring the decision, but he adopted a cautious approach by saying that his party was not obliged to comment n another party.

The resignation of 100 MLAs will force new elections if that happens at all. Sources have told News18 that about 100 opposition MLAs may put in their papers, a move which is also being viewed as an attempt to put pressure on the governor to dissolve the state assembly and call for fresh polls.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today asserted that his government could not be toppled, though some forces harbored such hopes. “Some think the government can be toppled. That is never possible as workers and supporters have put in their hard work for its formation,” he said in a veiled attack on sidelined party leader TTV Dhinkaran who is seeking his ouster.

The consensus is that even if the government wins the trust vote in a truncated House, it would have lost the moral compass to rule as it would face new problems. Though again it is not as if the party in power and its backers outside the borders of Tamil Nadu care for the morality aspect or public sentiment beyond a point.

Delhi CM Kejriwal meets actor Kamal Hasan

Tamil Nadu is known admixture of cinema and politics and film heroes like MGR and Jayalalithaa have become state chief minister while scriptwriters CN Annadurai and K. Karunanidhi ruled the state for many terms. They promoted corruption and fixed price tags for each job and service to people, and only rich people could get jobs and others should go to other states or abroad for finding jobs.

Today names of two Tamil super film stars, Rajinikanth and Kamal Hasan have been circulating in Tamil Nadu politics and with the assumption that both would enter politics to fill up the vacuum created by Jayalalithaa’s death and clear the confusion in the state politics. Rajinikanth has no real interest in politics or starting a new party but many parties, including BJP, tried hard to rope in him but he very tactfully got out of the trap.
The AIADMK ministers have criticized any arrival of Rajni or Kamal in the politics. Naturally, they are screed of film magic. Kamal’s political overtones may have upset the plans of the government to stay in power.
Meanwhile, Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal met Tamil actor Kamal Hasan at his residence on September 21 and discussed political environment existing in the country. Drama is happening in Tamil Nadu right now, with the infighting within the AIADMK…

Kamal Hasan says he always wanted to stay away from politics. “But someone has to clear this quagmire and make this place habitable for people”. Over a period, we have pulled down the state to such a pathetic level that all they have now is statistics. Old statistics to throw at you when you say you throw accusations their way. Those suffixes and titles don’t matter. Actual business should happen in Tamil Nadu. Health, education, and agriculture should be taken care of. They have been neglected. I am not talking about bringing Neduvasal (the site of a controversial hydrocarbon project) and making industries.

Politicians are corrupt, but people have also been part of this corruption. They have somehow been accessories to this crime. So with guilt, we have to change the ways.

Just because I didn’t take money to sell votes doesn’t mean I am not part of the people. My people have taken it. Some of them have taken even Rs 5000 per vote. They have been cheated by the politicians and system. .They didn’t even do good business with that because they are worth more than that. They can achieve more than Rs 5000 per day because they are worth that. Instead, they settled for Rs 5000 for five years- Hasan said. .It has to change. But first people have to change. And when the voters are ready next time, they first have to be honest if they want an honest man at the top. Only the situation will necessitate that. But doesn’t mean I have to jump tomorrow. My passion alone will not take me across. I must prepare. My fulcrum should be strong enough to lift the weight. With empty coffers, already disrupted infrastructure and half-finished task, it will be an uphill task for anyone, especially a new man, a new party in Tamil Nadu.

“I am going to be meeting people now as a citizen. Slowly, step by step. We will provide a clear roadmap. People already want to join my welfare association. I am not sure whether it is opportunism or enthusiasm. But we have to be careful about collecting people. “The people who have already been working for 37 years need not get precedence. It is a capability that will give precedence. For 37 years the people have been working… Now they will work more if I ask them to. They are not looking for power. Neither am I. But we will seize it if that’s the only way to deliver service to people…”

It was misrepresented with some quarters saying that Kamal and Rajni will join hands. But both are good friends with different ideologies…”Absolutely different ideologies… And we are such friends who will not impose one ideology on the other. Or one will work against the other. I am pretty sure that all we promised to each other is that we would be ethical. And set an example for other politicians to follow. So are you ready to officially join hands with Rajinikanth? If he is willing. I am going to be making certain rules for the party. Those who are interested in that set of rules are welcome”.

Qn: “What do you think of PM Narendra Modi? How important it is Centre’s role in the welfare of Tamil Nadu?”

Ans: “Ideologies do not matter to me as long as they are good for the people of Tamil Nadu. I have an ideology. I am not going to deter from it. Definitely- not for power and money! We have to be united with all the diverse ideologies and beliefs we have in this country. We must trust the Centre. There is a constant reference of Tamil Nadu being a separate entity. Yes, there was a talk of it years ago – nearly half a century ago, when we wanted our own identity because we were not recognized. Back then it was Anna Durai who was that advocate of that cause. Then he pulled back on that… I insist we do not go that secessionists’ way. This country will have to stay united despite its differences. PM Modi has tried while others have only promised. Swachh Bharat is a good idea. Demonetisation is a good idea. I am not an economist… but now there is criticism about it (demonetization). Let us not jump to conclusions”.

“Who ruined Tamil Nadu? We can see corruption. Not a single project is moving. Was it DMK, AIADMK, the Sasikala family? Today everyone wants to be the chief minister of Tamil Nadu…Including Kamal Haasan, who dares to say that if there’s the possibility (of Kamal Haasan becoming CM), he will come. But let me tell you clearly what is happening… the onus of this mistake goes to the people. Parties don’t matter. Personalities do not matter. My elders those do not matter if they join hands with the corrupt. They have to go”, Kamal said.

How do you respond to the Palaniswami and the Panneerselvam who have been attacking you left right and center? Their attack is a knee-jerk reaction. I am not going to respond to that. Are they worried about you? They better be, if they are not. It is high time that they worry about me. Because I am not just a man, I am the people.

Whether or not Kamal Hasan or Rajinikanth enter active politics, the fate of poor people would not change any drastically because once they assume power the rich and corporate lords throng them with their lists of preferences and the rules have to work for them only.

Regional as well as national politicians are corrupt, and frauds in India and they promote corruption and cheating and honor the frauds and thieves like cricketers who get 100s and 50s through mutual or mafia fixings.


Today DMK and AIADMK leaders are wealthy and have acquired the rights to mint money. They use police against the poor and helpless people and even destroy the house of those who do not support their ideology by hiring agents. Police are informed priory not to take any action against the criminals and create problems only for those who come to the police stations with complaints about justice.

In fact, people have lost hopes and trust in the government’s ability to help the people. MPs and MLAs would help people only if the huge sum is given beforehand as a one-time bribe. They argue that the people are paid a huge bribe for their votes.

Of course, corruption and bribery “rules” are not exclusive to Tamil Nadu alone- everywhere in every state it is being practiced as people in the federal government also doing the same, providing models for corruption.
As a result of misgovernance, not only they could remove poverty and illiteracy but even made the state corrupt as they only enjoyed the power and did not want any positive change in the lives and attitudes of Tamils. They continue to lead apathetic life while party people thrive in huge wealth made illegally.

The AIADMK government would be in real danger if the high court were to find that the disqualification order was flawed, or illegal as the rebel lawmakers insisted in court. Unless the rival factions of the AIADMK can find some common ground to work together within the next fortnight, anything may happen.

In the never-ending saga that is Tamil Nadu politics, the ruling AIADMK continues to its shape-shifting relentlessly. Whether the faction led by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami adopted this course out of political necessity or out of a genuine desire to keep Sasikala out of the party’s affairs is now irrelevant. The newly evolved collective leadership in the party, with Panneerselvam as the coordinator and Palaniswami as the co-coordinator, and the abolition of the powerful post of general secretary, will be resistant to the influence of Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran. As it stands, it seems like Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran are the outsiders looking in.

Their only hope is the courts and their money power.

Even if nothing more, the resolution passed by the AIADMK general council would essentially consolidate the position of Chief Minister E K Palaniswami and O Pannerselvam in the party and government.
However, the infighting leaves the AIADMK is less important for those who are not either O Panneerselvam or Edappadi K Palaniswami, former and current chief minister, respectively. The prestige of the party has eroded in the minds of common people of the state who all through supported Jayalalithaa.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami cannot seek a trust vote in the assembly before the court decides on the status of 18 rebel AIADMK lawmakers disqualified by Assembly Speaker this week, the Madras High Court ordered on Wednesday. The directive has come as a relief for the rebel lawmakers and the opposition that had accused the ruling AIADMK of manufacturing majority by disqualifying dissenting MLAs. The high court would decide on a batch of petitions filed against Speaker P Dhanapal’s order disqualifying 18 lawmakers on October 4 and directed against starting the process to fill seats that have fallen vacant due to the disqualification.

A lot depends on the Madras High Court, which will hear a plea on the disqualification of rebel AIADMK MLAs. If the High Court upholds the disqualification, then 18 bypolls will have to take place within the next six months to replace those MLAs.

Powerful people in the post-Jayalalithaa era Tamil Nadu politics try to advance their illegal wealth by maneuvering power towards the Madras Fort. And the power politics of the southern state of Tamil Nadu has taken the parties to the court.

Politics means wealth and that is the reason why more and more people throng the political spectrum, choosing a party and switch to another if that is more profitable.

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Dr. Abdul Ruff is a columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics. He is an expert on Mideast affairs, as well as a chronicler of foreign occupations and freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). Dr. Ruff is a specialist on state terrorism, the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA), commentator on world affairs and sport fixings, and a former university teacher. He is the author of various eBooks/books and editor for INTERNATIONAL OPINION and editor for FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Palestine Times.