Chennai: Eighteen AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to rebel leader TTV Dinakaran were on Monday disqualified by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, giving the ruling side an edge in a show of strength which now seems imminent.
Assembly Secretary K Boopathy said that after the disqualification under the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules 1986, the 18 MLAs have lost their membership of the House.
He also wrote to the Election Commission notifying the vacancies in the House after the disqualification. With this, the effective strength of the 234-member House (where late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's seat remains vacant) has come down to 215. And against a half-way mark of 109, Chief Minister E Palaniswami claims to enjoy the support of 114 MLAs. The DMK and its allies have 98 members.
The disqualified MLAs are: Thanga Tamilselvan, R Murugan, Cho Mariappan Kennedy, K Kathikamu, C Jayanthi Padmanabhan, P Palaniappan, V Senthil Balaji, S Muthiah, P Vetrivel, NG Parthiban, M Kothandapani, TA Elumalai, M Rengasamy, R Thangadurai, R Balasubramani, 'Ethirkottai' SG Subramanian, R Sundararaj and K Uma Maheshwari.
Though notices were issued by the Speaker initially to 19 AIADMK MLAs who took sides with Dinakaran, one of them, STK Jakkaiyan, shifted his loyalty to the Chief Minister.