The CM has consolidated his position and stature while his deputy, a former CM, has enjoyed all the trappings of power.
The paradox continues in which 11 MLAs, including two ministers, have sat on the Treasury benches in Edapaddi Palaniswami’s Tamil Nadu government for nearly three years after voting against it during a trust vote. In 2017, O. Panneerselvam rebelled in the ruling AIADMK party, which led to bizarre events in the Assembly. Now, with the Supreme Court deciding not to cross the thin red line in division of powers between the judiciary and legislature, the matter has been tossed right back to the Tamil Nadu Speaker.
Having sat for three years even in the matter of issuing notices to the MLAs who defied a whip, it is on the cards that the Speaker may well allow the issue to die a natural death along with the life of the Assembly in 2021. Such powers that Speakers tend to assume are not even being challenged these days. Given such free rein, Speakers, whose very nature is partisan, are happy to enjoy their “sky high powers” within the walls of their House.
The court’s reluctance to so much as question quirky actions like disqualifying 18 ruling party MLAs for voting against the trust motion while the same act of 11 others has been deliberately overlooked has allowed the government to stay in power. The CM has consolidated his position and stature while his deputy, a former CM, has enjoyed all the trappings of power. Democracy may have been redefined in such piquant manoeuvres, but the end result in this case at least has, mercifully, been political and administrative stability.