CHENNAI: As was expected, four days after Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam and AIADMK Whip S Rajendran submitted a petition to Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal seeking to disqualify three AIADMK MLAs for their alleged allegiance to the AMMK, the Speaker issued show-cause notices to them, seeking explanation of their anti-party activities.
Political observers say the move is an exercise to control damage that the three MLAs may cause to the ruling AIADMK in case of a trust vote. If these three MLAs are disqualified by the Speaker, the mandatory majority mark in the Assembly will come down to 116 even after all 22 vacant MLA seats are filled in the by-elections. If the House reaches its full strength, the majority mark will be 118.
Minutes after the news broke, DMK chief MK Stalin issued notice for a no-confidence motion against the Speaker, terming his action as biased.
MLAs have 7 days to reply to Speaker
Secretariat sources told Express that Speaker issued notices to three AIADMK MLAs – Rathinasabapathy of Aranthangi, Kalaiselvan of Vriddhachalam and A Prabhu of Kallakuruchi – asking them to explain their anti-party activities within seven days. The MLAs would be disqualified if they failed to respond within the stipulated time, warned the notice. “On receiving explanation from the MLAs, the Speaker will scrutinise it and accordingly will decide on the future course of action,” said the sources.
In his petition, the AIADMK Whip had submitted videos of the three MLAs campaigning for AMMK in the Lok Sabha elections.Presently, of the 234 seats in the House, 22 are vacant. While 18 seats went vacant after 18 AIADMK MLAs were disqualified by the Speaker in September, 2017, on the charges of withdrawing support to the government, three more seats fell vacant after the demise of the incumbent MLAs including the late DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and one more due to conviction in a riot case.
The present strength of the AIADMK is 114 including three from the allied parties, who won the elections on the party symbol of ‘Two Leaves’. The DMK and its alliance have has 97 MLAs while Dhinakaran is an independent MLA from RK Nagar.
Of the 22 seats, ideally the AIADMK has to win just four seats to reach the majority number of 118 in a 234-member-strong House. However, besides these three MLAs now facing disqualification proceedings, the three MLAs from the allied parties are also not very supportive of the ruling regime. So, considering these factors, the party has a solid support of only 108 MLAs in the House.
Hence in the current scenario, the ruling party has to win at least 10 of the 22 MLA seats in the bypolls to comfortably win a possible trust vote in the Assembly. However, if the three MLAs in question are disqualified, the majority mark will be only 116 and so, the AIADMK can survive the trust vote even if it wins just eight seats in the bypolls. By-elections to 18 Assembly segments were conducted on April 18 and those to four constituencies will be held on May 19.