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Madras High Court Verdict On 18 Disqualified AIADMK Lawmakers Today

All eyes are set on the Madras High Court today as it is expected to deliver its verdict on petitions challenging the disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs who had switched loyalty to sidelined party leader TTV Dhinakaran.The verdict could have a bearing on the stability of the Tamil Nadu government led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy, who had assumed office in February 2017 with the backing of Dhinakaran but later turned against him. The first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, which had on January 23 reserved its orders on the petitions by the 18 MLAs challenging their disqualification by the assembly speaker under the anti-defection law, is likely to give the judgement this afternoon, news agency PTI said quoting court sources.If the court quashes the disqualification, it would be a setback for the Palanisamy government, which could fall.However, the ruling AIADMK is confident that its government would not face any immediate threat to its survival. They point out that in the event of a confidence vote, the 18 MLAs would be bound by the Whip and cannot afford to vote against the government. Dhinakaran, the nephew of deposed party leader V K Sasikala, had been claiming that the Palanisamy government would not last long.The MLAs were disqualified after they had called on Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit expressing lack of confidence in the leadership of Palanisamy and seeking a change of guard.The MLAs had met the governor on August 22, 2017, a day after then rival factions led by Palanisamy and his now deputy Panneerselvam merged their factions after deposing Dhinaknaran as the deputy general secretary.

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