All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislator AK Bose died of a heart attack in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai on Thursday. He was 69. The MLA was unwell for nearly two years, according to the Hindustan Times.

With Bose’s death, the ruling party’s strength in the Assembly has reduced to 116 members. The Edappadi K Palaniswami-led government is already in a precarious position with the Madras High Court hearing a petition against the case of the disqualification of 18 Tamil Nadu MLAs.

In September 2017, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal disqualified 18 MLAs of the AIADMK after they supported ousted party leader TTV Dhinakaran. Their disqualification brought the Assembly’s effective strength down to 215 and the half-way mark to 108. If the MLAs are reinstated, the AIADMK government could collapse.

Currently, the AIADMK has 116 members, opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has 89 members and other parties have 11.

“The current AIADMK government is surviving on a wafer thin margin and the death of a loyalist is certainly a setback,” political analyst Tharasu Shyam told the Hindustan Times. “Further, five MLAs (Karunas, Thamimun Ansari, U Thaniyarasu, Aranthangi Rathinasabapathy and A Prabhu) are often seen with rebel leader Dhinakaran, and there is a threat to the longevity of the government.”

Bose was a three-time MLA who was elected in a bye-election in November 2016 after his predecessor SM Seenivel died days after he was elected to the Thiruparankundram
seat in May that year.

Opposition DMK had raised several questions about Bose’s candidature. A petition in court questioned if Jayalalithaa’s thumb impression on the nomination form of AK Bose was genuine. Reports had alleged that Jayalalithaa, who was hospitalised at that time, had put her left thumb impression on the nomination paper as her right hand was inflamed.