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The eighteen Tamil Nadu MLAs who were disqualified yesterday by the Madras High Court have said they will challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. They stood disqualified after High Court upheld the decision of the assembly speaker P Dhanpal under the anti-defection law. They all belong to the AMMK faction led by TTV Dinakaran who calls himself former chief minister Jayalalitha’s foster son.

Speaking to the media, Thanga Tamilselvan, one of the disqualified MLAs, said that the decision was unanimously taken since it was necessary to show to the world that the Speaker’s decision was wrong.“The Speaker’s decision was motivated by vengeance since we supported Dinakaran. Why no action has been taken against Panneerselvam and other MLAs who voted against the party in the Assembly,” he said. “If they announce elections for the 18 constituencies now, all 18 of us will contest as part of AMMK and emerge victorious,” he said, adding that there were no hurdles, legal or otherwise, to contest.

He stressed that the decision to appeal was to establish that the Speaker’s decision was misuse of power. “This minority government (AIADMK rule) seems to be of the view that they can use their power to punish anyone. Even if we decide to contest elections, there is a possibility that the Returning Officers may disqualify our candidature citing some reasons,” he said.

Tamilselvan said their lawyers were of the opinion that that there were flaws in the judgement of Justice M Sathyanarayanan, the Supreme Court-appointed third judge of the Madras High Court. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will uphold the split verdict of Justice M Sundar (which set aside the Speaker’s decision). We will request for swift disposal of the case,” he said.

                                                                                                     —India Legal Bureau

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