Chennai: The DMDK ship will sail smoothly even if 28 legislators jettison it as the people are behind the Captain - the sobriquet for actor and party leader A. Vijayakant - a senior party official said Saturday.
The DMDK is the second-largest party in the Tamil Nadu assembly with 29 legislators.
"Our leader is in Madurai now. He will return to Chennai Monday and a decision on the four legislators who met Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa might be taken then," VC Chandhirakumar, a legislator and the party`s propaganda secretary told IANS.
He said the party cadres are boiling with anger at the action of the four legislators.
The political scene in the state turned hot after four DMDK legislators met Jayalalithaa Friday and Saturday on the pretext of discussing welfare activities in their constituencies.
On Friday, DMDK legislators R Sundarrajan, representing Madurai Central, and K Tamil Azhagan from Tittagudi constituency, had met Jayalalithaa at the state secretariat.
On Saturday it was the turn of S Michael Rayappan (Radhapuram constituency) and C Arun Pandian (Peravurani constitutency) to meet the AIADMK general secretary at her Poes Garden residence.
However none of the four legislators was available for comment when contacted by IANS.
On the other hand, Vijayakant was visibly upset at the development. His ire turned on reporters who met him at the airport here Saturday.
Party founder Vijayakant is also the leader of the opposition.
Reacting to the developments, political commentator Gnani told IANS: "Poaching from the largest opposition party by the ruling party is nothing new."
"What is interesting is that the AIADMK will be denting the bargaining power of DMDK in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections if it negotiates an alliance with other parties," he said.
According to Gnani, DMDK may not take any disciplinary action against the four legislators; however, it is quite likely that the four may ask the assembly speaker to announce that they are "unattached members".
In February this year, several leading members of the DMDK, including filmmaker Ibrahim Rowther, a friend of Vijayakant, quit the party and joined the AIADMK.
That instance of DMDK members jumping ship came days after Jayalalithaa and Vijayakant clashed in the assembly.
In February, Jayalalithaa and one-time ally Vijayakant exchanged bitter words in the Tamil Nadu assembly. Jayalalithaa regretted the decision to enter into an alliance with the DMDK ahead of assembly elections in 2011.
In the assembly, Jayalalithaa claimed that the upturn for DMDK came because of her party; she claimed that once the ties between the two parties were severed, the DMDK would slide downwards.
"The AIADMK would have won the elections even without any alliance. It is DMDK`s luck that they aligned with us," the chief minister said, adding that she had bowed to her party cadres` wishes in aligning with the DMDK.
While the AIADMK has a strength of 150 (excluding the speaker) in the 234-member house, the DMDK has 29 legislators and the DMK 23.