TN gets ready for mini Assembly polls

Chennai: For the first time in history, 20 constituencies in Tamilnadu are facing by-elections simultaneously, courtesy the Madras High Court’s Thursday verdict upholding the disqualification of 18 legislators for defection and the death of DMK leader M Karunanidhi and AIADMK member A K Bose, which have left two seats vacant.

With the result of the by-elections having the potential to bringing down the government, they hold the importance and significance of a general election. In other words, Tamilnadu is starring at mini Assembly polls.

The by-elections will also decide the fate of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, DMK president M K Stalin and AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran.

For the AIADMK led by OPS and EPS, which currently has 109 MLAs in the Assembly excluding Speaker P Dhanapal, a minimum of nine seat seats are needed to prove its majority.

The DMK, the main opposition, now has 88 members in the House, while its allies Congress and IUML have nine MLAs (8+1).

If the DMK manages a massive victory in the by-elections, it may even come to power. Or at least a decent performance is must, considering that this is the first major test for Stalin after he assumed charge as DMK president recently.

All the 18 legislators were disqualified by the Speaker for siding with Dhinakaran.

The AMMK leader, who managed a clean sweep in RK Nagar, will have to show his strength in these 18 constituencies besides Tiruvarur and Thirupparankundram (vacated by Karunanidhi and Bose, respectively), to prove true his claim that real AIADMK cadres and people are with him.

Soon after the HC pronounced its verdict Thursday, all three leaders (Palaniswami, Stalin and Dhinakaran) expressed confidence that their parties would win the by-elections in the 20 seats. The ball is now in the court of people and their judgement will be out in the by-elections.

ACTION AGAINST 4 MLAS SOON?

Speaker P Dhanapal is said to be planning to take action against four AIADMK MLAs, including actor Karunas, who are extending support to TTV Dhinakaran.

As per the anti-defection law, AIADMK whip S Rajendran had already reportedly submitted a petition to the Speaker seeking action against Karunas and three other MLAs– A Prabhu (Kallakurichi), E Rathinasabapathy (Aranthangi) and VT Kalaiselvan (Vriddhachalam).

It is said that documentary evidence has been provided to the Speaker to prove that action could be taken against these MLAs.

Also, sources say Dhanapal would file a caveat petition in the Supreme Court, seeking to hear his version if the disqualified legislators move the top court to quash the Thursday verdict of the Madras HC.

M Bhaskar Sai