Eighteen Dhinakaran loyalists disqualified
Chennai: Eighteen rebel AIADMK MLAs were on Monday disqualified by Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal amid the power tussle between chief minister K Palaniswami and sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran.
Dhinakaran said his MLAs will approach the court against the disqualification even as the rebels dubbed the move as a "murder of democracy".
"Our MLAs will move the court and we will get justice," he told reporters at Kancheepuram district.
The action against the 18 MLAs, who had revolted against Palaniswami last month, was taken under anti-defection and disqualification rules of 1986, said a statement from Assembly Secretary K Bhoopathy.
It said the rules were in accordance with the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
"With the Honourable Speaker ordering for the disqualification of MLAs from September 18, 2017, they have lost their membership," of the House, the statement said.
MLAs who have been disqualified are Thangatamilselvan, R Murugan, Mariappan Kennedy, K Kathirkamu, C Jayanthi Padmanabhan, P Palaniappan, V Senthil Balaji, S Muthiah, P Vetrivel, NG Parthiban, M Kothandapani, TA Elumalai, M Rengasamy, R Thangadurai, R Balasubramani, SG Subramanian, R Sundarraj and K Uma Maheswari.
Decrying the Speaker's move, Vetrivel said, "This is the height of mistakes being committed by those in power," in an apparent reference to Palaniswami.
Dhinakaran loyalist and Perambur MLA, P Vetrivel, said they will move the court "as soon as possible" against Dhanapal's decision.
The 18 MLAs, who were disqualified on Monday besides another, had on August 22 met the Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar and conveyed that they had lost confidence in Palaniswami.
Opposition parties have since been insisting the Governor direct a floor test for the Palaniswami government for proving its majority in the Assembly. In the 234-member House, AIADMK has a strength of 134 MLAs.
The RK Nagar seat fell vacant last year following the death of the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The Opposition has a strength of 98 including DMK's 89.
Congress 8 and IUML one.