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Tamil Nadu's principal opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Sunday urged governor Vidyasagar Rao to direct chief minister K Palaniswami to prove his majority in the assembly as the running feud in the AIADMK got murkier ahead of a crucial meet of the ruling party. The 19 MLAs have been staying in a resort in Puducherry. Few days ago, Dhinakaran removed four ministers from party posts in a bid to assert his authority in the AIADMK (Amma).

To this, Palaniswami said at a government function at Ariyalur on August 23, where he shared the dais with Panneerselvam, that unity was the need of the hour to take the party and AIADMK government forward.

He also played down the rebellion by a group of AIADMK MLAs, who owe allegiance to TTV Dhinakaran, against Chief Minister K Palaniswami, claiming that it was more an internal matter of the regional party and not a threat to the state government. Also removed was revenue minister R.B. Udayakumar.

Party sources said that Mr. Dhinakaran may seek legal recourse if the Tamil Nadu Governor fails to take action.

Pointing out that his party had 89 MLAs, Congress eight and IUML one member, he claimed the number of MLAs opposed to the government stood at 120 including the "22 dissenting ruling party MLAs" in the 234-member House with one vacancy.

Governor should not allow time to artificially alter the strength, says P Chidambaram.

Commenting on "expulsion" of party functionaries by him, he said the deputy general secretary was empowered to take such action in the absence of party's general secretary.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress and Indian Union Muslim League together have 98 MLAs.

The fresh mutiny was triggered after Palaniswami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam buried the hatchet and merged their rival AIADMK factions last Monday.

Tamil Nadu which has been witnessing political turmoil since the hospitalization of Jayalalithaa in September a year ago and chaos in the ruling AIADMK after her death in December, awaits the decision of the governor, who has been shuttling between Chennai and Mumbai as he is the governor of both Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It also submitted a letter of the Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin to the Governor to press its demand.

Analysts said that the governor may try to delay a decision before calling for a trust vote. "Only the general secretary can guide the party", he said. "But if notices are issued then it would become serious business", added Sathiya Moorthy.