The danger of horse-trading looms large

With change of loyalties and the mood for reunion dimming, there is every possibility of the opposition parties asking the present government headed by EPS to prove its majority again in August.
The danger of horse-trading looms large

Chennai

The fast changing Tamil Nadu political scenario is ripe for horse trading.  The AIADMK is heading for a split into three.  One favouring the EPS the chief minister.  Another group supporting OPS who voted against the EPS group during confidence vote in February 2017.  Third group under TTV Dhinakaran who claims the support of some MLAs.  As AIADMK within a year of its coming to power is going to end up with three factions; the danger of the party becoming a minority party is larger.  The February show of strength by the EPS with 122 MLA’s in the confidence vote is only a thin majority to prove its majority.
With change of loyalties and the mood for reunion dimming, there is every possibility of the opposition parties asking the present government headed by EPS to prove its majority again in August at the end of six months from the first no confidence motion.  In the February 2017 confidence vote, the opposition was not allowed to vote and they were evicted out of the house before voting and the government received 122 votes against 11 votes from the OPS faction.   The anti-defection law which came into existence in 1985 in the aftermath of politicians changing their allegiance to other political parties, to which they belonged, clearly prohibits members from changing their loyalty to another party.
The 91st amendment Act of 2003 to the anti-defection law changed the number from one third of the elected members of a political party to that of two-thirds for a merger.  So the party members leaving in small numbers will be considered as ‘defectors’ and they will lose their membership.  The 91st Amendment also makes it mandatory for all those switching political sides – whether singly or in groups  to resign their legislative membership. They now have to seek re-election if they defect.
As the tough anti-defection law is in force, it will be difficult for the members to leave the party (AIADMK) to another established political party but within the party they can move from one faction to another.  This is where the danger of horse-trading looms large.  This situation also increases the power of the MLA.  As the present government has only a thin majority of 122 MLA’s, the crossovers to different factions are going to be more.  Three are three possible scenarios emerging.  One is the imposition of President’s rule in the event of government not proving its majority (in the event of no-confidence motion in August 2017),  secondly the possibility of assembly getting dissolved  and fresh elections within six months or finally,  Governor can also invite a party with single largest majority to form the government.
As the AIADMK has completed only a year the MLAs would like to stick together in order to avoid both President’s rule as well as a general election but keeping the MLAs together with a majority in the house is going to be difficult. This is where the MLAs of the ruling party may cost ‘high’ for the different factions.
—The writer is a political analyst

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