AIADMK power struggle: Setback for Dhinakaran camp; Madras HC extends stay on floor test

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In a setback to TTV Dhinakaran camp, the Madras High Court on Wednesday extended a stay order on Tamil Nadu Assembly floor test until further orders.

"There will not be floor tests for next days until counters are filed," said Aryama Sundaram, lawyer of Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal.

Justice M Duraiswamy ordered Chief Minister, Speaker and Government Chief Whip to file their response in the next hearing. The judge also asked the Election Commission not to announce by-election in the 18 constituencies until further orders.

The court extended the stay while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs by the Tamil Nadu speaker.

The next hearing is scheduled on October 4.

Eight of the 18 MLAs had moved court , challenging the action against them under the anti-defection law.

The petitioners had sought to restrain the speaker, government chief whip S Rajendran, Chief Minister K Palaniswami and the Assembly secretary from interfering with their rights as elected representatives.

Acting on a plea by Rajendran, the speaker had on Monday disqualified 18 MLAs, loyal to sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, under the assembly anti-defection and disqualification rules of 1986 formed in accordance with the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

The chief whip had moved the speaker after the MLAs met Governor Ch Vidaysagar Rao on August 22 and expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister.

With the disqualification of the 18 MLAs, the 234-member assembly has only 215 elected members with one seat being vacant already.

The government now needs only 108 votes to prove its majority in the assembly now in case of a floor test.
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