The main opposition party in the state, the DMK, walked out of the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday during the first legislative session for the year. The session began with an address by Governor Banwarilal Purohit, which was interrupted by DMK President and Leader of the Opposition, MK Stalin. Stalin called for a resolution to be passed against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which has triggered massive protests across the country.
Treasury benches comprising Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, looked on as members of the Opposition rose and raised slogans against the CAA. Stalin had earlier submitted a private resolution to the Assembly Secretary seeking to withdraw the CAA.
Amid the furore, the Governor requested the Leader of the Opposition to use 'his oratory skill and debate later on'. “This House should be used for the debate. This is my request,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after walking out of the House, Stalin said, “These are the reasons we have walked out: the debt of the state has risen to Rs 4 lakh crore, industrial development and job opportunities are absent, the current Council of Ministers had passed a resolution on the release of the seven (convicts in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) including Perarivalan and sent it to the same Governor. There has been no news forthcoming from the Governor.”
Further, he said, “At a time when the Citizenship Amendment Act has been brought, which affects the secularism and peace of this country, the AIADMK has supported it. The CAA became law because of AIADMK's support. Its passage betrays minorities and Sri Lankan Tamils. In the recently-concluded local body polls, the Election Commission, police and government machinery formed an alliance and worked in favour of the ruling party.”
The DMK chief slammed the government's fresh appeal against the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test in the Supreme Court just two days prior to the registration deadline for NEET-UG 2020.
“We have passed and sent two Bills on NEET to the Centre. What happened to that? For two years they haven't cared about that. Suddenly, they have filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. It is drama. Seven students, including Anitha, have killed themselves over this,” he stated.
Members of the Opposition including Congress, IUML and TTV Dhinakaran, the sole independent MLA in the House, also walked out. MLA Vijayadharani, Congress, told reporters that the boycott of the Governor's speech was to condemn the AIADMK's support of the CAA. Thamimun Ansari, AIADMK MLA and Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi leader, who came sporting a tshirt which read 'No CAA, NRC, NPR' also walked out of the Assembly.
Stating that he would endorse DMK's resolution to withdraw the CAA, TTV Dhinakaran told media persons that the Act was against Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamils.
The leaders who walked out also condemned the violence against Jawaharlal Nehru University students in New Delhi on Sunday evening, calling for immediate action to punish the perpetrators.