CHENNAI: On a day when T T V Dhinakaran and others were waiting at Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor, S T K Jakkaiyan, AIADMK MLA from Cumbum constituency, who has all along been with the rebel faction, met Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal and announced that he would be support chief minister Palaniswami to protecting the present government.
He was one among the 19 MLAs who had given individual letters to Governor on August 22 informing him that they had withdrawn support to Palaniswami. So, the number of MLAs who support Dhinakaran which rose to 22 with actor S Karunas openly supporting him, came down to 21 with the shifting of loyalties by Jakkaiyan.
Three MLAs - V T Kalaiselvan, EA Rathinasabapathi and actor S Karunas, six MPs - A Navaneethakrishnan, M Udhyakumar, N Gokula Krishnan, B Senguttuvan, Vigila Satyanand and AP Nagarajan accompanied Dhinakaran.
Talking to Express, B Senguttuvan, MP from Vellore constituency, who was part of the 10-member team led by Dhinakaran, explained what happened during the 30-minute-long discussion at Raj Bhavan.
“We submitted a memorandum to the Governor stating that three more MLAs had withdrawn their support to Palaniswami and narrated the reasons for directing Palaniswami to take a trust vote on the floor of the Assembly at the earliest.
The Governor gave us a patient hearing and went through the memorandum line by line. Wherever he had doubts, he clarified them with us. We told the Governor that the present government was not functioning as per the will of the people and in accordance with the wishes of our late leader J Jayalalithaa,” Senguttuvan added.
“The Governor said he had understood the nature of the situation and he has to take a decision which is fair and constitutional. He promised that a decision will be taken within a few days,” Senguttuvan added.
The MP also recalled that in the memorandum, it was pointed out that K Pandiarajan, who had supported O Panneerselvam, filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court against the trust vote won by Palaniswami on February 18 and even as the apex court was yet to give its verdict, Pandiarajan had joined the Cabinet headed by Palaniswami, showing that there was no principle behind their stand taken earlier.
Talking to mediapersons after meeting the Governor, Dhinakaran downplayed the decision of Jakkaiyan to move to EPS faction. He said “If one MLA leaves, two MLAs from that side will come to our side. Wait and see, our sleeper cell MLAs will rise at an appropriate time.”
Dhinakaran indicated there was a ‘bargaining’ ahead of Jakkaiyan’s decision. Dhinakaran said Jakkaiyan spoke to him on Wednesday night and demanded either headquarters secretary post or presidium chairman post. But just as he landed in Chennai, met the other side and announced his decision to back Palaniswami.
“Jakkaiyan was threatened that he would be disqualified as an MLA and also some allurements were promised,” Dhinakaran alleged. “He spoke to me this morning and explained what happened. I told him that if he wanted to go to EPS faction, he could do so,” he added.
On August 22, 19 MLAs met the Governor and submitted individual letters informing him that they had withdrawn their support to Palaniswami since corruption was rampant in the government headed by him. They also wanted to change the Chief Minister but they have clarified that they did not want to bring down the government but only wish to change the Chief Minister.
Following this, S Rajendran, Whip of the AIADMK (Amma) in the State Assembly, recommended to Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal that action should be taken against the 19 MLAs. The Speaker sent notices to these MLAs and they also replied. However, the Speaker, not satisfied with their replies, sent a second notice asking them to appear before him on September 5. But the MLAs supporting Dhinakaran had sought 15 days time to reply to the second notice.
Since the leaders in Dhinakaran faction continue with their assertion that they had ‘sleeper cells’ in the faction headed by Palaniswami, as a show of strength, convened MLAs meeting on September 4 in which 109 MLAs attended. Of the 50 district secretaries, 46 attended the meeting.
The EPS faction also claimed that nine MLAs who are now supporting Dhinakaran had also extended their support to Palaniswami over telephone.