CHENNAI: Ever since the government headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami assumed office on February 16, 2016, it has been an example of Tamil proverb ‘nithyakandam poorna ayushu’ (survival on a day to day basis).
Today, the verdict of the Madras High Court on the disqualification of 18 MLAs has added to the meaning of this proverb. Yes, the EPS government in Tamil Nadu got yet another breather from the HC. The last breather this government got from the court was on June 14 with the HC giving a split verdict on the disqualification of these MLAs.
While the verdict came as a shocker for Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) led by TTV Dhinakaran and the disqualified MLAs, it was jubilant time for the ruling AIADMK. Senior ministers including P Thangamani, SP Velumani and R Udhayakumar celebrated the moment by distributing sweets. Reacting to the verdict, Law Minister CV Shanmugam said the court had taught a befitting lesson for the betrayers of the AIADMK.
Though the EPS government got a breather now, in fact, there is a burden lurking on it - to face a mini general election by way of by-elections to 20 Assembly constituencies including the two for Tirupparankundram and Tiruvarur in next six months or even before that. Further, today, the HC verdict also vacated the stay on holding a by-election to the 18 Assembly constituencies. But it depends on the decision of the 18 disqualified MLAs which is expected to be taken in a day or two.
Now the principal opposition party DMK may not move a no-confidence motion against the government now. With the HC upholding the disqualification of 18 MLAs, the effective strength of the Tamil Nadu Assembly has come down to 214. So, the simple majority to win a confidence motion in the Assembly will be 108. Since the ruling party has 109 MLAs, there is no danger to this government.