Presidential polls

Palaniswami asks his MLAs to stay back in Chennai to ensure smoothing prez polls

INDIA-POLITICS (File) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami seems to be growing stronger politically day by day. With just three more days for the presidential elections, the buzz in the Tamil Nadu power corridors is that the chief minister is all set to host a tea party for all the 122 AIADMK MLAs, including the 30 odd legislators backing T.T.V Dhinakaran.

According to sources in the state secretariat, an oral instruction has gone to all the ruling party MLAs to stay back in Chennai this weekend and not to go to their constituencies. The instruction, sources say, was sent from the chief minister's office this morning to ensure that they don't turn up late for voting in the presidential elections. “The fear among the seniors is that, what if the MLAs don't return to Chennai on Monday at the right time to vote? In such a case, the assurance to vote for BJP's Ram Nath Kovind can't be kept," said one of the MLAs who had received the instruction.

The MLAs are now in Chennai attending the assembly session. Usually during weekends, the MLAs get back to their constituencies and return only on the next working day for the session.

According to sources, the chief minister is also planning to host a tea party for all the 122 MLAs who backed him during the trust vote to ensure that the NDA's presidential candidate gets all the 122 votes. However, the tea party is not likely to be held at Koovathur resort.

" Palaniswami has his own way of keeping the flock together and this is part of it," said one of the MLAs. The MLAs who are with Dhinakaran and hree independent MLAs—Karunas, Thamimun Ansari and Thaniarasu too will be part of the tea party.

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