Chennai, Feb 18, 2017: Hours before Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami seeks a vote of confidence in the Tamil Nadu assembly on Saturday, Arun Kumar, a legislator from Coimbatore North has also jumped shift.
Speaking to media over the phone from Coimbatore, Arun Kumar said: “I left the beach resort… I was not held back.”
He said party cadres and the people were not happy at the acts of the current leadership.
Queried as to why he decided to boycott the trust vote instead of voting against it, Arun Kumar said he was interested in party unity and the views of the people and the cadres.
He said his decision was against one family taking control of the party.
With this desertion, the AIADMK led by General Secretary V.K. Sasikala commands the support of 123 legislators, including the Speaker, while the breakaway group led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has 11 legislators.
The Panneerselvam camp has the support of 11, taking the tally against Palaniswami to 108.
If there is some cross-voting of 8-10 legislators from Sasikala’s camp then it could be curtains for Palaniswami.
The total number of MLAs in the Tamil Nadu Assembly is 234. With Jayalalithaa’s death, it is now 233. AIADMK has 134 MLAs — including O. Pannerselvam’s camp, the DMK has 89, Congress 8, and IUML 1, while one seat is vacant.
With the Speaker, not voting, the total votes will be 232. Edappadi Palaniswami needs more than 116 votes to prove his majority. In the case of a tie, the Speaker’s vote will be cast.