Politics heats up in TN ahead of HC verdict

Politics heats up in TN ahead of HC verdict

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Dy CM O Panneerselvam. PTI file photo

The temperature in Tamil Nadu's political circles is expected to shoot up the in the coming week beginning Monday with speculations that the Madras High Court might deliver the much-awaited verdict in the disqualification of 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs soon.

The verdict is keenly awaited in political circles, not just in Tamil Nadu but at the national level, too, since it has the potential to chart the future course of politics in the state.

Before the verdict, both sides — the ruling AIADMK and the rebel group led by T T V Dhinakaran — are busy charting their future course of action, even as they indulge in verbal duel in public.

The verdict, whichever way it comes, could prove tricky for Chief Minister E Palaniswami, since his government is now surviving on a wafer-thin majority.

If the Speaker’s decision is upheld, the state will face by-elections to 20 constituencies, including two owing to the death of its members, which will serve as an acid test to the AIADMK government, which emerged a distant second in last year’s bypolls to R K Nagar seat.

If the Speaker’s decision is struck down, the EPS government will plunge into a minority and the rebel MLAs might force a floor test on him.

The 18 MLAs, who owe allegiance to Dhinakaran, were disqualified from their membership after they submitted a letter to then Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao, expressing no confidence in Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

The legislators moved the Madras High Court seeking quashing of their disqualification by Speaker P Dhanapal, but the first bench consisting then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice S Sundar, delivered a split verdict, handing over the case to a third judge, M Sathyanarayana, who has reserved his orders in the case.

Anticipation of the verdict has heightened political activity in the state in both ruling and Opposition camps. The DMK, which is hoping that the Assembly elections will be held simultaneously along with the Lok Sabha elections, has called a meeting of its district secretaries on October 25. Already, the party held consultations with its senior members on the preparedness for the Lok Sabha polls.