While the rest of Tamil Nadu wondered whether the numbers would stack up, Tamil Nadu’s MLAs had a different card up their sleeve.

Chaos reigns supreme in TN Assembly OPS and DMK manage to delay Trust Vote
news Politics Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 12:53

As soon as the Tamil Nadu Assembly gathered for the Trust Vote on Saturday, the opposition MLAs and O Panneerselvam’s camp made it clear that the going would definitely not be smooth.

DMK Working President MK Stalin, AIADMK ‘whip’ Semmalai appointed by Madhusudhanan on Saturday morning, AIADMK’s R Nataraj and Panneerselvam himself stood up to demand a secret ballot. Reports from the Assembly say that the Speaker, Dhanapal, made it quite clear that he wasn’t willing to entertain any such requests.

“It is the Speaker’s right to decide how a vote is held, and no one has a right to interfere with that,” the Speaker reportedly said.

But even as he refused this request, the opposition had another one ready. Stalin, and later other leaders, demanded that the Trust Vote be postponed. As MLA Nataraj reportedly put it, “The vote should only be held after MLAs have a chance to go to their constituency and meet the people.”

While the MLAs supporting Chief Minister Palaniswami were reportedly quiet, the opposition DMK and the OPS camp were unhappy with the Speaker’s stand, and started sloganeering in the well of the House.

Soon, they reportedly gheraoed the Speaker. MLAs broke chairs and damaged mics in the Assembly. The Speaker reportedly had to be carried out of the House by the Marshals after the ruckus, and the Assembly was adjourned to 1pm.

And when the Assembly reconvened, Speaker Dhanapal was unforgiving. After asking who he should complain to about the insult he was meted out in the Assembly on Saturday morning, the Speaker decided to evict all the DMK MLAs in the House. 

The eviction would mean the strength of the Assembly would go down to 142 from 230 in the morrning. To win the vote of confidence, Edappadi Palaniswami would only need 72 MLAs - much less than the 122 he claims to have. 

The DMK was unwilling to let go, and refused to leave the Assembly. Chaos ensued once again, and the Marshals were unable to evict them. At 1.30pm, the Speaker ajourned the House once again until 3pm as Marshals tried to evict the DMK MLAs.

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