Palaniswami proves majority amid violence

DMK members damage Speaker's chair, evicted

Palaniswami proves majority amid violence
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami won a crucial floor test in the Assembly on Saturday, amid violence created in the House by the Opposition DMK.

Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, who was injured in the violence, adjourned the House twice. After the voting by division, the Speaker announced that Palaniswami had won the confidence vote, with 122 MLAs in his favour.

Eleven MLAs supporting his rival within the AIADMK, former chief minister O Panneerselvam, voted against the motion. “I declare to this House that the motion has won,” Dhanapal said.

Before the head count, the 88 members of DMK, which had decided to vote against Palaniswami, were evicted from the House for indulging in violence. They damaged the Speaker’s chair and microphone, and hurled a slipper at him. The slipper, however, missed the target.

They also damaged the Assembly secretary’s seat, tore agenda papers and hurled them in the air.
Dhanapal said his shirt was torn by DMK MLAs, and showed it to the members. “I am really pained.

They insulted me with their rude behaviour. Is this is the way to treat a Speaker in the House?” he said. Congress legislators also walked out after Dhanapal refused to heed their request to adjourn the House for a week. The lone Indian Union Muslim League  member followed the Congress.

Soon after the Assembly session began at 11 am, DMK working president M K Stalin, Panneerselvam, and Congress member K R Ramasamy asked the Speaker to either conduct a secret ballot or adjourn the House for a week to enable AIADMK MLAs to get the people’s view in their respective constituencies. The rebel AIADMK camp leader, Panneerselvam, who was given a seat in the second row of the treasury benches, also questioned the need for urgency in seeking a confidence vote when Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had allowed 15 days’ time for it.

At the time of the first adjournment, though DMK members continuously shouted slogans, even against AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, the treasury benches kept silent. Not even a single member of the ruling party faction countered the slogans.

When the session resumed, Opposition MLAs, including from the eight-member Congress, rose from their seats and shouted slogans demanding voting by secret ballot. Going a step further, DMK members trooped into the well of the House facing the Speaker’s chair. There was no possibility of voting as DMK members continued to create a ruckus.

They also heckled the Speaker and threw books kept on the Assembly secretary’s table. Several DMK MLAs were injured during the scuffle with the Assembly marshals who came to evict them. The DMK members also tried to drag the Speaker as he left the chamber with the marshals’ help.

The confidence vote had to take place because of a power struggle in the ruling AIADMK, following Panneerselvam’s revolt. He had said that he was forced to resign as chief minister to make way for Sasikala, a confidante of the late CM J Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala was convicted in a disproportionate assets case, but before heading for prison she picked Palaniswami to replace her as the legislature party leader. Palaniswami was sworn in as CM by Governor Rao, but asked to prove his majority in the Assembly.
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