- The MLAs said they will ask the Governor to sack CM E Palaniswami
- AIADMK split weeks after the death of its powerful chief J Jayalalithaa
- Mr Palaniswami will be in trouble if these 19 MLAs withdraw support
Each of the MLAs - being led by by Ms Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran, who she had appointed as the AIADMK's number 2 - has submitted an identical letter to Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao, asking him to "intervene and institute the constitutional process as constitutional head of the state." They have alleged that by merging with a faction that voted against him in a trust vote in the assembly only six months ago, Chief Minister Palaniswami has "forfeited the confidence of the people... I hereby express my lack of confidence on Mr Edapadi. K. Palanisamy. As such I withdraw my earlier support given to him vide this communication."
The MLA's have stressed that they are not giving up their membership of the AIADMK.
After yesterday's merger, the AIADMK has 134 legislators in the 234-member assembly. That is only 17 more than the 117 needed for a majority. With 19 MLAs rebelling, Chief Minister Palaniswami could be in trouble if he has to face a no-confidence motion.
TTV Dhinakaran, who is not an MLA, did not accompany the rebel legislators to meet the Governor. In a series of tweets last night he vowed to "weed out betrayers" seen to refer to E Palaniswami, or EPS, whose accession to the top post was arranged in February this year by Ms Sasikala before she left Chennai for the Bengaluru prison where she is lodged in a corruption case. She had also appointed her nephew as her deputy in the party then.
Under the merger agreement, OPS, who was forced by Ms Sasikala to step down as chief minister in February this year, has settled for the role of deputy to EPS the man who worked under him as a minister months ago.
Soon after the pro-Sasikala legislators met the Governor, senior leader of the AIADMK and member of Parliament V Maitrayan too met him, describing it as a "courtesy call."
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