Chennai: The Chief Whip of the ruling AIADMK on Thursday urged Tamil Nadu Speaker P. Dhanapal to disqualify the 19 MLAs who have rebelled against Chief Minister K. Palaniswami.
The 19 are part of the faction led by the now jailed AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala and her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran.
Upset over the coming together of the two major factions of the AIADMK led by Palaniswami and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, the 19 legislators have submitted a memorandum to Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing their support to the Chief Minister.
Speaking to the media here, Chief Whip S. Rajendran said that by withdrawing support to the Chief Minister, the dissenting MLAs had attracted the provision of the anti-defection law.
The Dinakaran faction, whose MLAs are now holed up in Puducherry, reacted sharply. A spokesman for the group said this was aimed at preventing more legislators from joining them.
The move comes as the opposition parties have been demanding the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the assembly.
The AIADMK had 134 members in the Assembly (excluding the Speaker) and this has fallen to 115 without the support of the Dinakaran faction.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly has 234 seats. One seat is vacant due to the death of AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa.
Of the 233 members, the DMK has 89 members, the Congress 8 and the IUML 1. Speaker P. Dhanapal has only a casting vote in a tie. The DMK, Congress and IUML are in an alliance.