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DMK questions trust vote post twin adjournments, eviction of its legislators

By Sujit Bhar

The DMK and its executive chief, MK Stalin, aren’t taking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s winning of the February 18 trust vote 122-11 lying down. They have approached the Madras High Court, saying the manner in which the vote was allowed by speaker P Dhanapal after the eviction of 88 DMK legislators and after two adjournments of the assembly, was illegal.

The Madras High Court will take this up on February 21.

The contention is that since this procedure was illegal, the vote should be cancelled. To their joy, Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had on February 19 asked for a report on the assembly incidents.

Stalin wants the governor to call for a fresh trust vote, but a lot depends on how the high court sees this. Former chief minister O Panneerselvam has joined forces with Stalin.

The arithmetic, tough, still seems rather vague. Stalin’s 88 and Panneerselvam’s 11 make up 99, still short of the majority and still short of Palaniswami’s number.

However, the contention is that while the speaker disallowed secret ballot, this would have emboldened MLAs, who were allegedly held without their consent at a resort by Sasikala Natarajan’s (who is in jail) follower, to cross the floor quickly and give the opposition a majority.

The BJP’s hand in this seems clear, and though the BJP has zero representation in the house, troubled waters would allow it to create further chaos that could even lead to President’s rule.

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