Eleven MLAs of the then OPS faction voted against chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami on the floor of the House.
In an intriguing turn of events, a third judge broke the Madras high court deadlock over the Speaker’s disqualification of 18 T.T.V. Dhinakaran faction MLAs. He ruled in favour of the Speaker’s actions, thus upholding the view that the presiding member is supreme inside the legislature. It is arguable whether such powers can be wielded in an invidious manner as in the Tamil Nadu legislature. Eleven MLAs of the then OPS faction voted against chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami on the floor of the House. They are still in his party and also in his Cabinet now whereas the 18 MLAs who threatened to revolt stand disqualified.
It is a setback to the Dhinakaran’s AMMK party. It would probably have been in their own political interest not to go in for an appeal to the top court and press for bypolls, but they seem to have decided otherwise. If bypolls were to be ordered within six months in 20 constituencies (two vacancies due to deaths of MLAs M. Karunanidhi and A.K. Bose), it would be more like a mini general election before the Lok Sabha polls.
The Palaniswami government enjoys a wafer-thin edge in a House of 234 seats of which only 214 members, including the Speaker, can vote in the event of the Opposition DMK-Congress calling for a trust vote now since the bar on a confidence vote has been removed by the verdict. Which way the byolls to 20 seats go would determine the future of the government in Tamil Nadu, but it appears everyone is satisfied with the status quo prevailing until the barometer of Lok Sabha polls come along.