How 18 MLAs were disqualified

The events that culminated in the disqualification of 18 MLAs supporting TTV Dinakaran started in December 2016 with the power play within the AIADMK after the death of then chief minister and party supremo J Jayalalithaa.

Tamil Nadu’s finance minister O Panneerselvam swearing in triggered an in-party slugfest in AIADMK because Jaya’s close aide VK Sasikala wanted to be chief minister. She had already took over the reign of the party. But the Supreme Court’s verdict on Sasikala’s disproportionate assets case was not in her favour, so, she appointed Edappadi K Palanisami as the party leader, who was later chosen as CM. Meanwhile, Panneerselvam and his loyalists were expelled from the party for rebelling against Sasikala. 

Soon after, Palanisami revolted against Sasikala’s family and joined hands with Paneerselvam. While both the factions got merged by August 2017, Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran broke away from the party with 18 MLAs. These MLAs led by Dinakaran met the then Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao to inform him that they were withdrawing support to the Palanisami government.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker on September 18 expelled the MLAs under anti-defection law as the faction did not have one-third strength of the elected party members. The MLAs approached the High Court against Speaker’s order. In June this year, a two-judge bench gave a split verdict in the case following which the case went to a three-judge bench for hearing.

The three-judge bench of the High Court on October 25 upheld the Speaker’s decision to disqualify the 18 MLAs. As Dinakaran has indicated that his MLAs would not appeal against the verdict, the Election Commission is expected to announce by-election in the seats soon.

The disqualified MLAs are S Thangatamilselvan, R Murugan, S Mariappan Kennedy, K Kadirkamu, Jayanthi Padmanabhan, P Palaniap-pan, V Senthil Balaji, S Muthiah, P Vetrivel, N G Pathiban, M Kodand-apani, TA Elumalai, M Rengasamy, R Thangadurai, R Balasubramani, SG Subramanian, R Sundaraj and Uma Maheswari.