Sasikala Loyalists Approach Court, Say Disqualification From Assembly Invalid

The 18 AIADMK lawmakers say their disqualification from Tamil Nadu assembly is invalid as they did not quit the party or vote against E Palaniswami's government

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Sasikala Loyalists Approach Court, Say Disqualification From Assembly Invalid

The disqualified AIADMK leaders have been put up in different resorts by TTV Dhinakaran


Chennai:  The 18 AIADMK legislators loyal to jailed leader VK Sasikala have approached the Madras High Court with an appeal against their disqualification from the Tamil Nadu assembly. The lawmakers contend that they did not vote against the government or resign from the party and hence their disqualification under the anti-defection law is invalid. The court will hear their appeal tomorrow.

Their disqualification brought down the strength of the assembly and acted as a lifeline to Chief Minister E Palaniswami, who has been facing demands of a trust vote from the rebel faction and the opposition DMK.

In the 234-member state assembly, the Chief Minister has the support of 112 lawmakers. In case of a trust vote, Mr Palaniswami's government could have fallen short of a majority.

The matter had gone to court after both groups had several rounds of meetings with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao with demands for a floor test.

A few days ago, the court had directed the Speaker to not hold the floor test till Wednesday in response to an appeal by TTV Dinakaran, VK Sasikala's nephew, who was removed recently from the post of the party number 2.

Tomorrow, the High Court will take up the three petitions.

Earlier, the rebel faction had requested Mr Rao to replace Mr Palaniswami and formally withdrew their support to his government. They contended that the expulsion of Ms Sasikala - one of the key conditions of the merger with the faction led by O Pannerselvam - was betrayal.

The Governor, who assured them that he would look into their demands, today met Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

The rebel lawmakers, meanwhile, were stowed away at various hotels by Mr Dhinakaran to keep them away from the influence of the Chief Minister. Still, after one lawmaker switched camp.


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