In a move that clearly reflects the animosity between the two Dravidian majors AIADMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu, the DMK MLAs have been bundled out of assembly after a 15-minute pandemonium on Wednesday.
Opposition Leader M.K. Stalin was carried out of the House by marshals and DMK’s deputy leader Durai Murugan was forcibly removed. The DMK MLAs have also been suspended for a week by the Speaker P Dhanapal.
It all began when DMK MLAs were on their toes, opposing a comment made by AIADMK’s Tirupur MLA Gunasekaran. The MLA, during a discussion, passed a sarcastic remark on DMK Treasurer Stalin’s outreach programme Namaku Naame.
“A person who roamed Tamil Nadu in the name of 'We for ourselves' was not able to get majority in the state,” the Gunasekaran had said. Irate opposition MLAs registered their protest over the remark and requested the speaker to expunge the same.
When the speaker refused to entertain the demand, Stalin said, “Namaku Naame campaign was a success and the chief minister herself had mentioned about it in her party's general council meeting,” adding that the CM mentioning about the programme itself was an honour for him.
The speaker said he would expunge Stalin’s remarks about the chief minister. This caused an uproar with the DMK MLAs demanding that the statement by MLA Gunasekaran be expunged as well.
Soon, Finance Minister O Panneerselvam moved a motion, seeking suspension of the DMK MLAs claiming that the opposition members are stalling the assembly proceedings. The speaker ordered the marshals to evict the DMK MLAs from the House. After they were removed, Dhanapal suspended them from the assembly for a week.
When Stalin had expressed his readiness to apologise, Dhanapal said an apology only indicates the former's inability to handle his MLAs. “You are no longer in control of your own MLAs,” he told Stalin.
“This is a pre-planned conspiracy. I even said I would apologise for whatever had happened. But the speaker was in a hurry to throw us out,” Staling told reporters.
In the wake of this move, party called for an emergency meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the future course of action. However, nine of the 89 MLAs who did not take part in the assembly proceedings do not stand suspended.
It may be recalled that Karunanidhi came to the House for the first time on Tuesday after the fifteenth Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly proceedings began in June. Though suspension and coming back to the House is nothing new for the DMK or for any other opposition party in Tamil Nadu, this time the opposition's strength had been a major blow for the ruling AIADMK. Moreover, the DMK’s intervention in every motion or bill presented in the assembly has been annoying the AIADMK leaders in the House.
With most of the major policy demands placed in the assembly, the Tamil Nadu Police department's policy demand is due on August 22. According to sources, DMK’s intervention during the police policy demand would mean trouble for the chief minister who holds the portfolio.
However with nine MLAs escaping the suspension, sources in the DMK said they have all the more reason to protest in the assembly.
It may be recalled that in 2007 when all the AIADMK MLAs were suspended by the then ruling DMK, Jayalalithaa came to the assembly all alone to take on the mighty DMK. The big question is, given his age and stature, will DMK leader Karunanidhi be able to take on Chef Minister Jayalalithaa in the assembly.