File photo: Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami.
Coimbatore: Buoyed by the recent Madras High Court verdict upholding disqualification of the 18 MLAs, ruling AIADMK Saturday said it is ready to face the bypolls to the Tamil Nadu assembly any time, once the Election Commission announces the dates.
Replying to a specific question on the preparedness of AIADMK to contest the by-polls, including to constituencies of these MLAs, Chief Minister K Palaniswami told reporters here that the party was ready to face the byelections any time.
In an apparent reference to sidelined leader T T V Dhinakaran, he said 'betrayers' and 'enemies' had been given a befitting lesson by the Madras High Court.
In a huge relief to the AIADMK government, the court had Thursday upheld the disqualification of the 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs loyal to Dhinakaran by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly last year.
The MLAs were disqualified on September 18 last year by Speaker P Dhanapal under the anti-defection law after they met the Governor and expressed loss of confidence in Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
The MLAs have decided to approach the Supreme Court against the High Court order. Asked about the chances of Dhinakaran's party AMMK in the bypolls, Palanisamy blamed a section of the media for giving him undue publicity.
"Is he a great man? He has "finished" the 18 MLAs. The media never asked Dhinkaran, who is not even an AIADMK member, where he was when former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was alive. He was thrown out of the party," Palanisamy said.
Asked about when the long overdue local body elections would be held, the chief minister said the matter is pending in the Madras High Court.
The Court had Friday pulled up the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (SEC) for delaying the conduct of local body elections in violation of its order.
The case relates to the contempt petition filed by R S Bharathi of DMK against State Election Commissioner Malik Feroz Khan and its secretary Rajasekhar, for not complying with the order of the court directing that the local body polls be completed by November 17, 2017.
To a question on the Centre's nod to Kerala's proposal to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment Study to construct a new dam in place of the existing Mullaperiyar reservoir, the Chief Minister said the state government has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reject the proposal.
Asked why the Tamil Nadu government was not constructing a dam across the Cauvery, Palanisamy said "We are ready for it. But there should be permission from the riparian States. Will they agree?"
Asked for his comments on Mahinda Rajapaksha taking over as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Palanisamy said the AIADMK's stand had always been that he should be tried for alleged war crimes against Tamils in the 2009 civil war against Tamils.
The island nation plunged into a constitutional crisis Friday after President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and made former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa the new premier.
Wickremesinghe Saturday sought an emergency session of Parliament to prove his majority.
On the safety of fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were facing frequent attacks, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, he said the state government was committed to protect them and also find a solution to their problems.
The chief minister said he and fisheries minister (D Jayakumar) had recently met the Prime Minister and stressed the need to protect the fishermen.