State Congress leaders said their MLAs are likely to go with DMK and vote against the government.
Chennai: The principal opposition in the state, DMK and its ally IUML on Friday declared that they would oppose the confidence vote sought by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palanisami on the floor of the Assembly on Saturday. However, the stand of Congress could not be confirmed. State Congress leaders said their MLAs are likely to go with DMK and vote against the government. With all the DMK and IUML coming out with an official announcement, the total number of MLAs opposing the government has gone up to 100.
If the Congress too decided to go along with its ally DMK, then the opposition will be just eight short of the magical number of 116.
Since, DMK president M. Karunanidhi will not be able to attend the House, the strength of the party will be 88, while IUML has a lone member. So, far 11 AIADMK MLAs have openly announced their support to Panneerselvam.
The total strength of the Assembly is 233 now and the exclusion of Speaker P. Dhanapal and Karunanidhi will bring down the tally to 231, reducing the halfway mark to 116. In case of a tie, the Speaker could vote, but such a scenario will be ruled out if the opposition musters 116 members, which will be possible only if Congress decides to oppose the confidence motion.
The DMK’s decision was announced by party’s working president M.K. Stalin after a meeting of party MLAs at party headquarters Arivalayam. Stalin told reporters that the DMK would vote against Palanisami in the confidence motion since the law and order situation had deteriorated. Stalin also said there are reports that the Congress would oppose the motion.
Reacting to a question on request for secret voting in the Assembly, Stalin said “I will welcome it, if such a situation arises”, indicating the DMK’s thinking that secret voting could encourage more AIADMK MLAs to vote against the confidence motion without fear of disqualification from the House. Palanisami government will be doomed even if eight more ruling party members decided to oppose the confidence motion. The DMK legislators had been asked to stay in the city and go to the Assembly on time, so that all of them are present for the voting.
The Congress MLAs met under TNCC president S. Thirunavukkarasar, but he did not meet the media. After the circulation of a twitter message stating that Thirunavukkaraar had announced Congress opposition to the motion, the Congress leader denied that he had any twitter account. The Congress leader said his party would take a decision only on the morning of voting, giving an indication that Congress is considering supporting Palanisami too. Former TNCC president E.V.K.S. Elangovan flayed Thirunavukkasar for not announcing a stand and said he would complain about it to the high command.
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