The Madras High Court order on Wednesday laying down that there cannot be a trust vote in the Tamil Nadu Assembly until the court adjudicates on the reinstatement plea filed by 18 AIADMK legislators from the TTV Dhinakaran camp disqualified by the Speaker, is sound in principle. However, that in effect means that the political uncertainty that hangs over the State like a Democles sword will continue for now at least until the next hearing in the case on October 4.
The Speaker of the assembly had disqualified the legislators under the Anti-defection Act for withdrawing support to the E. Palanisamy government. Evidently, the reason for the government to approach the Speaker was to bring down the strength of the House and to rush in a confidence motion which the ruling party could win based on the reduced numbers. That plan has now been nixed by the court. The Speaker’s gambit in declaring the 18 seats vacant and advising the Election Commission to hold fresh byelections has also been frustrated by the court order until the fate of the legislators is decided.
The politics of victimhood and betrayal has always fetched high returns in the electoral battlefields of Tamil Nadu. It is with this in mind that Dhinakaran has been hammering the point that Palanisamy and O. Panneerselvam have betrayed first Jayalalithaa and then her closest aide Sasikala whose nephew Dhinakaran is. Whether this would strike an emotional chord with people at large remains to be seen. Another sentiment that Dhinakaran has been seeking to capitalise on is the widely known fact that Palanisamy and Panneerselvam came together at the initiative and
Another sentiment that Dhinakaran has been seeking to capitalise on is the widely known fact that Palanisamy and Panneerselvam came together at the initiative and on the patronage of the Centre. The people of Tamil Nadu hold the Centre under suspicion for long, especially since the anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960s and Dhinakaran, apparently under Sasikala’s counsel, feels that this could well be a worthy card to play to arouse sentiment in favour of his group.
What Dhinakaran has, however, not factored in is the public abhorrence of corruption and the association of Sasikala and Dhinakaran with the ‘Mannargudi mafia’ which is a derisive term by which they are identified. Clearly, the judgement in the disqualification of legislators case will determine the future course of Tamil Nadu politics. If the disqualification is revoked the Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction could well defeat the confidence vote that Palanisamy would be forced to bring. Whether that would lead to President’s rule and fresh elections is a matter of conjecture.