Politics of resorts coming back to TN

Politics of resorts coming back to TN

TTV Dhinakaran is planning to pack 18 MLAs to a luxury resort in Courtallam to ward off any attempts of poaching by the ruling AIADMK. PTI file photo

Resort politics seems to be returning to Tamil Nadu after a gap with AIADMK rebel T T V Dhinakaran planning to pack off MLAs supporting him, including 18 disqualified legislators, to the tourist town of Courtallam, 630 km from here.

Dhinakaran’s decision comes amidst intense speculation that the much-awaited verdict in the disqualification of 18 MLAs would be delivered this week by the Madras High Court. Sources said the MLAs would move to Courtallam, known for its famous waterfalls, either on Tuesday or Wednesday and stay put till the verdict in the case is delivered.

A senior leader close to Dhinakaran, nephew of jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, told DH that MLAs only decided to camp at a luxury resort in Courtallam to ward off any attempts of poaching by the ruling AIADMK.

“They thought it would be good if they are all in the same location. Since there are a lot of party events in Madurai and Pasumpon in Ramanathapuram district next week, the MLAs decided to camp at Courtallam,” the leader said.  

Thanga Tamilselvan, one of the disqualified MLAs, said the legislators will camp in Courtallam to take a dip at the Thamirabarani Maha Pushkaram, which is celebrated once in 144 years, in Tirunelveli district.

Resort politics has been synonymous with the Sasikala family to keep their flock together since J Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016. Sasikala had shifted almost 120 MLAs to a resort in Koovathur near Mamallapuram on the scenic East Coast Road in February 2017 to avoid them being poached by O Panneerselvam, who had rebelled against her for staking claim to chief minister’s post.

The Koovathur stay of the MLAs was the first episode in Tamil Nadu of legislators being shifted to a resort to keep the flock together. And Dhinakaran followed his aunt who also packed off the 18 MLAs, who were disqualified for expressing no confidence against Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami last year, were lodged in resorts in Puducherry and in Coorg in Karnataka last year.

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