Homecoming of disqualified MLAs bound to happen: AIADMK

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami, PTI file photo

A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami welcomed the idea of disqualified party MLAs returning to his AIADMK, the ruling dispensation today asserted that their homecoming was "bound to happen."

Senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said those who have accepted the late Chief Ministers M G Ramachandran (AIADMK founder) and J Jayalalithaa, as their 'eternal leaders,' will return to the party fold.

The AIADMK's mouthpiece, 'Namathu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma,' also extended an indirect invitation to the disqualified MLAs to return to the party.

Speaking to reporters here, Jayakumar recalled the Chief Minister's statement yesterday in Tiruchirappalli that it "is laudable" if eight of the ex-MLAs owing allegiance to TTV Dhinakaran joined AIADMK.

He said, "Those who went away, whether MLAs or ex-MLAs or even an ordinary supporter, they all should accept Amma and Puratchi Thalaivar (as leaders) -- it is for sure that those who have accepted them as their eternal leaders will return to the party."

While party supporters address Jayalalithaa as Amma, they hail MG Ramachandran as Puratchi Thalaivar (revolutionary leader).

In Tamil, Jayakumar described the possible return of the disqualified MLAs as "kaalathin kattayam" (roughly translating to 'bound to happen').

"They all have to come, they will come," he said but declined to reveal if any of the ex-legislators were in talks with the AIADMK high command in this regard.

Dhinakaran loyalist Thanga Tamilselvan had said he would withdraw his petition in the Madras High Court challenging his disqualifition by Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, but ruled out joining the AIADMK, led by Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.

He had said the people of his constituency have endorsed his decision to take back his plea in the court.

Tamilselvan is one of the 18 MLAs who were disqualified last year following their revolt against the chief minister.

A day after the factions led by Palaniswami and erstwhile rebel leader Panneerselvam merged on August 21, 2017, MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran met the then Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, and sought a "change" in leadership saying they had lost confidence in Palaniswami.

On June 14, the Madras High Court delivered a split verdict on the petitions challenging disqualification of the 18 MLAs.

While Chief Justice Indira Banerjee upheld the September 18 order of Speaker Dhanapal disqualifying the MLAs, Justice M Sundar disagreed with her and set it aside.

The verdict had come as great relief for the Palaniswami government as restoration of the membership of the MLAs could have brought it perilously close to losing majority in the event of their joining hands with opposition DMK-Congress-IUML alliance, which has a combined strength of 98 MLAs in the 234-member Assembly.

In that eventuality, the Opposition's strength would have swelled to 117, including Dhinakaran, who is the lone independent MLA. The AIADMK also has 117 members in the House, including the Speaker.

Meanwhile, in a write-up titled 'Netru, Indru, Naalai' (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow) the AIADMK mouthpiece recalled Jayalalithaa earlier having discarded her confidante, the jailed V K Sasikala, and her family members.

While crediting the late chief minister for 'toiling' for the victory of the disqualified MLAs when they represented AIADMK, it also accused Dhinakaran of winning the December 2017 bypoll to RK Nagar here with its arch rival DMK's support.

One has to "sense this conspiracy,"it added.

Those with gratitude should make it their motto to strive towards fulfilling Jayalalithaa's dream of "a hundred years" of AIADMK rule, it said.

"Let that happen at the earliest," it said, apparently referring to the possible return of the disqualified MLAs.

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Homecoming of disqualified MLAs bound to happen: AIADMK

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