AIADMK Lawmakers Enjoy Swings And Volleyball, In Break From Politics

They played volleyball, sat on see-saws, tried the swings and generally appeared to have a rollicking time. In two days, they plan to shake up the Tamil Nadu government.

Nineteen lawmakers of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK showed no signs of cabin fever on Thursday, tucked away at a beachside resort in neighbouring Puducherry to prevent overtures from Chief Minister E Palaniswami or "EPS".

The group checked into the Windflower Resort Spa on Tuesday night, hours after they went to the Tamil Nadu Governor to register their protest against the merger of their party with a rebel faction of former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam or OPS - which leaves their leader TTV Dhinakaran out in the cold. They also said they had lost confidence in Chief Minister EPS, and he should be removed.

Pausing a game of volleyball, one lawmaker told the ANI news agency: "We came here to prove our unity, we have proved that. In two days we will go back to Chennai and make sure our demands are met."

As one of his colleagues was seen tentatively sitting on a see-saw, the legislator agreed: "We are having a good time."

Another lawmaker in a red t-shirt, after doing sit-ups among palm trees, insisted that it was wrong to say they were coerced by Mr Dhinakaran or "Anna" to stay sequestered. "We are very relaxed here. The media is spreading rumours. You can see reality by looking at us, we are relaxed, playing volleyball. The two-day break was good. Whatever we are doing is for the welfare of Tamil Nadu and its people," he said.
"We haven't come to this resort to disrespect voters. We are here to relax for two-three days. Anna is supposed to come here."

Yesterday, the lawmakers, referring to Mr Dhinakaran and his aunt VK Sasikala, who took control of the party after J Jayalalithaa's death, said: "Yes, the remote control is with Sasikala and Dhinakaran."

The 19 lawmakers say the Chief Minister has betrayed them by moving to expel Ms Sasikala and Mr Dhinakaran - which was a major condition of the OPS camp for a merger.

"We want the Chief Minister replaced," said CR Saraswathi, AIADMK spokesperson.

The lawmakers have said EPS did not consult them about the reconciliation with OPS.

EPS and OPS together command 134 legislators. To win a trust vote, they need the support of 117. So far, the 19 lawmakers have not threatened to vote against the government, stressing that their objection is to EPS remaining in charge.




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