The suspended MLAs are R. Sundarrajan, K. Tamil Azhagan, C Arun Pandian, Michael Royappan, T. Sureshkumar, Shanthi and K. Pandiarajan

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) leader Vijayakant has suspended seven dissident MLAs from the primary membership of his party and all other positions for defying the leadership’s order by voting against party candidate A.R. Elangovan in the Rajya Sabha poll.

Mr Vijayakant has sent individual notices to them accusing them of violating party discipline and orders by voting for the rival DMK candidate even though he and party whip V.C. Chandrakumar directed them to vote for the DMDK candidate. The notice has asked all the seven MLAs to send their responses by July 10.

“If you fail to send the reply by the date, it will be presumed that you have no proper reason for defying party leadership’s order and we can take further action without any hindrance,” Mr Vijayakant has said in his letter.

‘Not bothered’

“I was informed about the notice. They have sent it to my mail and I have not seen it. I am not bothered. Why suspension? Let him dismiss us from the party,” R. Santhi, representing Senthamangalam (ST) constituency told The Hindu.

The other MLAs are K. Pandiarajan (Virudhunagar), C. Arun Pandian (Peravurani), S. Michael Royappan (Radhapuram), T. Sundararajan (Madurai West), Tamil Azhagan (Tittagudi SC) and T. Suresh Kumar (Chengam SC).

Ms Santhi said though Mr Vijayakant and party whip V.C. Chandrakumar sent letters asking her to vote for the party candidate, she and other MLAs were not invited for the party MLAs’ meeting in connection with the RS polls.

“There are so many well qualified people in the party. But Mr Vijayakant nominated A.R. Elangovan because of caste considerations,” she alleged.

Mr Royappan said he had not received the letter so far, but wondered why the leadership took so long to suspend the dissident MLAs. “They could have suspended us the day when we met the Chief Minister and sought her help implementing development projects in our constituencies. Anyway I am happy about the suspension,” he said, adding that he was very unlikely to respond to the notice.

Mr Royappan said he was barred from attending government functions and meeting ministers and officials in connection with constituency work. “I am free now. If he (Vijayakant) expects me to respond to his notice, I am not going to do it,” he said.

Mr Tamil Azhagan said, "If he has suspended me, I have no regrets. I will respond to the notice if he has raised reasonable points. Otherwise, I will approach the issue legally," he said.

On Friday, Mr Vijayakant had accused Chief Minister Jayalalithaa of indirectly helping DMK candidate Kanimozhi win a Rajya Sabha seat.