Chennai: Amid speculation that rebel T.T.V. Dhinakaran, charged up after his huge RK Nagar bypoll win, could rock the boat for the AIADMK government, the ruling party on Wednesday held a meeting of its MLAs to brief them on how to stay composed and mai-ntain decorum “even if someone says or does something provoking”.
The MLAs meet, convened by AIADMK coordinator O. Panneerselvam and co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami, was attended by 103 legislators while eight others, including three ministers, could not make it due to either personal reasons or official engagements in the districts, senior minister D. Jayakumar said later. He also brushed aside suggestions that Mr Dhina-karan’s entry into the Assembly could pose problems for the government, saying his presence would make no difference.
After winning the December 21 bypoll by a thumping margin of over 40,000 votes over the AIADMK candidate E. Madhusudhanan, Mr Dhinakaran had virtually served a notice on the government’s survival saying its continuance rested on the compliance of his demand that five-six senior ministers, including CM Palanisw-ami and deputy CM OPS, should step down. All his subsequent muscle-flexing before the TV cameras only indicated that he was bracing for a showdown with the government when the Assembly opens its maiden session for 2018 with the Governor’s customary address.
It would also be the first session since the disqualification of 18 pro-TTV MLAs by Speaker P. Dhanapal last September, a decision that they have challenged in the Madras high court.
On the Wednesday’s MLAs meet, party sources said both EPS and OPS made a passionate plea to the gathering to ensure that the discipline and decorum taught to them by ‘Amma’ Jayalalithaa was maintained during the session whatever be the provocation from the opposition side. They were also told to get ready for the local body elections, which could be expected around April, and work hard to ensure the party’s victory.