Moves seen as targeting Vijayakant’s Leader of Opposition status

Two more MLAs of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) on Saturday met Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, claiming that they were seeking her help in implementing development schemes for their constituencies.

On Saturday actor-turned-politician C. Arun Pandian, who was elected from the Peravurani constituency in Thanjavur district, and Michael Royappan, a film producer, representing Radhapuram constituency in Tirunelveli district, called on Ms. Jayalalithaa at her Poes Garden residence.

On Friday, Madurai Central MLA R. Sundarrajan and Tittagudi (reserved constituency) MLA K. Tamil Azhagan met the Chief Minister at the Secretariat.

If the trend of DMDK legislators meeting the ruling party continues, it may pose a challenge to DMDK president Vijayakant’s position as the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, if the number of disgruntled MLAs go up and the strength of his legislature party comes down drastically. However, they will also be wary of attracting the anti-defection law.

The DMDK now has 29 members in the House, and four of them have so far defied his leadership.

Another political fallout of more MLAs leaving the DMDK is that its prospects of getting one member elected to the Rajya Sabha look bleak. As many as six RS seats will be vacant in July 2013 and the DMDK can elect its nominee only with the support of another party. The CPI (M), a potential supporter, has 10 MLAs. The two parties maintain a good relationship and the DMDK can reciprocate the gesture in March 2014, when another six seats fall vacant. But things are not moving in the right way for the DMDK.

The trend could also force the DMDK towards the DMK to counter the ruling party’s designs.

Both Mr. Arun Pandian and Mr. Royappan said many development schemes could not reach their constituencies even though a year and a half had passed since the 2011 Assembly elections.

“I don’t want to betray the voters of my constituency. As of now, my mind is occupied with works in my constituency,” Mr. Pandian said when asked whether he had plans to function separately in the Assembly. I want to ensure that the good schemes of Amma reach the people of my constituency,” said Mr. Pandian.