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Sidelined AIADMK (Amma) deputy chief TTV Dhinakaran said on Thursday that he has sought the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam during his meeting with Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao even as he asserted that he didn't want the state government to fall.
At his first meeting with the governor after 19 MLAs loyal to him expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister last month, he accused the government of exerting pressure on his camp to woo the MLAs back to their fold.
"It is evident he (Palaniswami) has no majority. Therefore, he should be asked (by the governor) to prove majority," Dhinakaran told reporters outside his residence after the meeting at the Raj Bhavan.
He said he had sought "action" on the August 22 demand of his camp MLAs, who had earlier told the governor that they had lost confidence in the chief minister and that he should be removed.
"Our intention is to change the chief minister and (Deputy CM) O Panneerselvam," he said.
The governor told the delegation that "he is watching everything. He said he will soon take a good decision and do his duty", Dhinakaran said.
Asked about MLA SDK Jakkaiyan reportedly switching over to the Palaniswami camp, Dhinakaran merely said he had spoken to him this morning and that it was natural for people to get jittery when pressurised.
On August 22, 19 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs had met Rao and told him they had lost confidence in Palaniswami and wanted him to be removed as chief minister.
The number of dissident MLAs has since grown to 21.
The Dhinakaran camp MLAs had met Rao a day after the formal merger of the two factions of ruling AIADMK led by Palaniswami and then rebel leader and present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on August 21.
The revolt in the ruling party had sparked demands for the governor to order the government to face a floor test in the assembly.
The DMK, Congress and Left parties had even knocked the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind in this regard.
The governor had earlier told a delegation of Left and VCK leaders that the issue was the AIADMK's internal matter and that he cannot intervene.
Earlier, during the hearing of a PIL seeking a floor test in the Madras High Court, the state Advocate General had also contended that the revolt by 19 MLAs was the AIADMK's internal affair and that the Governor cannot interfere in it.
Palaniswami and Dhinakaran have been at loggerheads ever since the merger, with the unified AIADMK declaring that the latter had been removed from the deputy general secretary post on August 10 itself and questioning his authority to make changes in the party set up.
In the 234-member house, the AIADMK has a strength of 135, including the Speaker.
The opposition has a total strength of 98, including 89 of the DMK, eight of the Congress and an IUML member.