AIADMK rebel leader TTV Dinakaran. Photo: The Indian Express

 Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal on Monday disqualified 18 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLAs belonging to a rebel group led by TTV Dhinakaran, according to media reports.

PTI reported that this action was taken under anti-defection and disqualification rules imposed in 1986 in accordance with the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, a statement from  Assembly Secretary K Bhoopathy said.

In case of a likely floor test in the TN Assembly, the Chief Minister EK Palaniswami government could sail through easily as the decision by the speaker has reduced the strength of the Assembly to 110 from 117 before the disqualification.

Meanwhile, the rebel MLAs of the Dhinakaran camp challenged the speaker’s decision, Hindustan Times reported. P Vetrivel, a senior MLA supporting Dinakaran, said, “The speaker has done this disqualification so that the government wins the floor test. The decision is unfair as well as illegal as 19 MLAs had given in writing to the governor that they had lost faith in the [Palaniswami] as the chief minister.”