CHENNAI: As the fraternal feud within the ruling AIADMK plumbed to greater depths, the chorus for a trust vote is growing louder, with the principal opposition DMK meeting Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Sunday morning. Dissenting MLAs within the ruling AIADMK, meanwhile said they would meet the President if the Governor refused to grant them time.
A crucial meeting has been convened in Chennai on Monday, when senior leaders of the ruling factions are expected to take key decisions including convening the general council to initiate the process of expelling general secretary VK Sasikala. Amid this, a ruling party MLA dropped another bomb, suggesting that the House be dissolved to pave the way for fresh elections.
The cacophony within has only grown, with ousted deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran terming his rivals, Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, as betrayers. The latter faction hit back strongly, calling Dhinakaran a ‘blackmailer’.
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ON Saturday, before leaving for a function at Tirupur, Dhinakaran went on a shuffling spree, replacing some of the office bearers with his loyalists. These included former minister S Gokula Indira who was replaced as organising secretary by comedian S Senthil. He also relieved P Kumar, senior leader from Tiruchi, as Youth Brigade secretary. “What is going on today is a war between sacrifice and betrayal,” Dhinakaran told reporters outside his residence in Adyar, Chennai. Later, he added at Tirupur: “The surgery to protect the party has begun, and I will do anything for this with the approval of [aunt and general secretary] Sasikala.”
Dhinakaran claimed senior ministers P Thangamani and SP Velumani, presently staunch loyalists of Chief Minister Palaniswami, had proposed his name for Deputy Chief Minister right in front of Palaniswami. “All of them had canvassed votes for me in RK Nagar by-election. Now they have changed their mind,” he said. Even as the ruling faction indulged in hectic discussions on dealing with the crisis, Palaniswami loyalist and Kunnam MLA RT Ramachandran sent shockwaves with his suggestion that fresh elections be called. “I feel ashamed to hear the charges from leaders of AIADMK factions that the present government is corruption-ridden.
It is my view that Chief Minister Palaniswami should dissolve the government and face elections,” he told the media at Sendurai in Ariyalur. Meanwhile, as the ruling party hurled from confusion to crisis, Leader of Opposition and the working president of DMK, MK Stalin, said at Tiruvarur that deputy opposition leader, Durai Murugan, would lead a delegation of senior party leaders to the governor on Sunday morning to reiterate the demand for floor test. Vidyasagar Rao, the Governor in-charge of Tamil Nadu, has remained selectively elusive after the political crisis exploded in the State. Staunch Dhinakaran loyalist Thanga Thamizhselvan, one of the MLAs who had submitted letters to the governor withdrawing support to Palaniswami as CM, told reporters in Puducherry that they would wait for two days. “If the governor fails to meet us, we will take steps to meet the President,” he said.