The recently concluded Assembly session, the first after a major election, which was swept by the Opposition, witnessed a rare phenomenon as senior journalists and political observers, who witnessed the session closely claim that both the DMK and the AIADMK appeared to be in tacit understanding with each other.
Though the 16-day session witnessed 129 MLAs debating on various issues, the Assembly witnessed stoic silence from the Opposition parties on key issues. Many days witnessed sober arguments from both ruling and Opposition parties and most were largely eulogies. The DMK walked out twice out of the House, but there was little impact on the Assembly proceedings.
In another instance, when the demand on grants on Highways Department was taken for discussion it was expected that the DMK would voice against the Chennai-Salem eight lane project but there was no word from them on the project. Similarly, when debate on hydrocarbon project was taken by DMK, Ministers replied that state government will not allow the project, but the DMK failed to question the ongoing hydrocarbon projects in the state.
On many occasions the DMK did not have answers for the counter questions posed by the Ministers. For instance, when DMK raised the NEET and GST issues, Ministers replied that they were first implemented by Congress government supported by the DMK. They questioned the DMK’s silence then and said the party was opposing the same projects now.
The issue of anti-Sterlite protest firing was also not debated. Whenever the issue was raised the comments on Sterlite deaths were expunged by Speaker P Dhanapal, but the DMK did not insist further on the issue and did not seek permission to discuss the firing. The mystery in the death of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, not appearing before the Arumugasamy Commission was also not debated as expected.
Political observer Raveenthran Duraisamy said that DMK president MK Stalin was upset at not able to topple the government and so did not focus on the Assembly session. “Stalin saved the three AIADMK MLAs, who supported AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, from getting disqualified and thought he can pull them to DMK to topple the state government, but his calculations went wrong as all three rebel MLAs were pulled back successfully by Palaniswami. Stalin was highly upset at not being able to topple the government and so did not focus much on Assembly session,” he opined.
DMK Whip Chakrapani refuted the allegations and said, “DMK never refrained from raising the voice for people’s issue and it is not true that DMK had compromised with the ruling party. Our party president was keen on debating people’s issues and many issues such as drinking water problem, NEET, hydrocarbon extraction scheme were raised in this session.”