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Third day in a row, DMK out of Assembly demanding disscussion on horse-trading issue

The DMK staged a walkout for the third consecutive day on Friday from the state Assembly over the issue of alleged horse-trading of AIADMK MLAs.

Third day in a row, DMK out of Assembly demanding disscussion on horse-trading issue
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Leader of Opposition MK Stalin shows a compact disc containing the recording of the TV expose

Chennai

Leader of Opposition M K Stalin led the walkout after he and deputy DMK leader in the House Duraimurugan argued with Speaker P Dhanapal over the issue in which remarks made by them were expunged by the chair after Finance Minister D Jayakumar made an intervention. 

Textiles Minister O S Manian said the Opposition party’s attempt to raise the issue was not appropriate. When some DMK members, who were walking out, objected to it, Dhanapal said the minister was only reiterating his ruling of June 14. 

On Thursday, DMK made a vain bid to raise the same issue and walked out after Dhanapal disallowed their plea holding that the matter was sub judice and based on media reports. DMK’s allies Congress and IUML too had walked out on the issue. 

On June 14, the alleged pay-off kicked up a storm in the Assembly which eventually led to en masse eviction of DMK members. They later staged a road blockade outside the state secretariat and were briefly detained by police. 

The matter related to purported claims by O Panneerselvam camp MLA S S Saravanan regarding a TV ‘sting’ operation about alleged payoffs to ruling party MLAs ahead of the February 18 trust vote that was won by incumbent Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy.

Speaker evicted absent DMK MLAs too

Speaker P Dhanapal almost got  his math wrong while evicting DMK members en masse from the Legislative Assembly on Friday for creating ruckus.

Dhanapal, before summoning the marshals, read out the names of all DMK MLAs based division-wise, including a few members like MLA PTR Thiygarajan elected from Madurai (Central), P Moorthy from Madurai (east) and former minister MRK Panneerselvam from Kurinijipaadi constituencies, who were not present in the House at the time of the ruckus for which the Chair ordered their eviction.  

Understandably, Speaker’s summary inclusion of all DMK MLAs drew the Opposition’s attention, some of whom, sarcastically, asked Dhanapal to get all of them evicted, irrespective of their attendance. Reality got the better of the Speaker, who, alerted by his Assembly Secretariat staff, quickly ‘revised’ his order and asked marshals to evict only those MLAs present in the House. 

Friday’s was perhaps not the first instance when Dhanapal got it wrong while having the MLAs removed forcibly from the House.  During the 2011-16 regime, when Vijayakant’s DMDK was the Principal Opposition party in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the same Speaker, based on a resolution adopted by the regime led by late J Jayalalithaa, had ordered the suspension of a few members for an entire session. 

His order backfired months later when the Supreme Court set aside the suspension, even observing that the privilege committee of the Assembly cannot violate principles of natural justice.

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