A DMK-led delegation of Opposition parties on Sunday urged the Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to conduct a floor test in the Assembly. They asked Rao to direct Chief Minister K Palaniswami to prove his majority in the Assembly in view of rebellion by a section of ruling AIADMK MLAs.
DMK also later said it would be constrained to move President Ram Nath Kovind, and if needed the court, if action was not initiated by Rao within a time frame.
Ever since 19 MLAs loyal to sidelined AIADMK deputy chief TTV Dhinakaran met Rao on August 21 and expressed their lack of confidence in the Chief Minister, DMK has been demanding a floor test claiming that the present government had lost its majority.
In the 234-member assembly, the present AIADMK government “enjoys the support of only 113 MLAs including the Speaker,” DMK working president M K Stalin said in a letter to Rao, the second since last week on the issue and handed over by the delegation.
Pointing out that his party had 89 MLAs, Congress eight and IUML one member, he claimed the number of MLAs opposed to the government stood at 120 including the “22 dissenting ruling party MLAs” in the 234-member House with one vacancy.
“It is now abundantly clear that the Council of Ministers headed by Palaniswami has lost confidence of the majority MLAs,” Stalin claimed.
Terming the situation as a “Constitutional crisis”, Stalin requested the Governor to immediately intervene and order a floor test to prove Palaniswami government’s majority.
“...kindly take all measures to restore good governance and democracy in the state,” the DMK leader said.
The delegation comprised Duraimurugan, DMK Rajya Sabha MPs Kanimozhi, RS Barathi, IUML MLA K A M Mohammed Abubacker, and Congress legislator and party whip, S Vijayadharani.
Stalin had on August 21 itself written to Rao for a floor test shortly after the 19 MLAs met the Governor. He had also reiterated the demand in a statement days later.
Meanwhile, addressing a function near Tiruvarur on Sunday, Stalin said his party might have to approach President Kovind and later the court to “protect democracy” if suitable action was not initiated by Rao.
Echoing him, DMK’s Deputy leader in the assembly Duraimurugan, who led the delegation, said, “We hope, the Governor will not push us to do that.”
Rao assured them that he would scrutinise the matter and take appropriate action, he told reporters emerging from the Raj Bhavan.
The meeting of the opposition delegation with Rao comes days after Stalin and Congress Legislature Party leader K R Ramasamy separately wrote to him seeking a floor test.
In his previous letter, Stalin had claimed that any delay in directing immediate floor test will only encourage “horse trading” and lead to “unsavoury political manipulations” and “injure” democracy.
Like in their previous letters, Stalin in his latest plea again cited the landmark SR Bommai case and said allowing the Palaniswami regime to continue would tantamount to violation of the Supreme Court judgement in that case.
The top court had held in the Bommai case that the only place to determine a government’s majority was the legislative assembly.