The opposition DMK members in Tamil Nadu Assembly were today evicted en masse amid noisy scenes when they insisted on raising the issue of alleged horse-trading of AIADMK MLAs despite being denied permission.
Speaker P Dhanapal disallowed a discussion as sought by Leader of Opposition M K Stalin, saying the matter, based on a private TV channel’s ‘sting’ operation, was sub-judice.
He later ordered the eviction of all DMK members as his repeated pleas for order and cooperation for the smooth conduct of proceedings fell on deaf ears.
Earlier, in a stormy start to the three-week long Assembly session, the DMK sought to raise the issue of alleged horse-trading.
The TV channel had aired a video footage purportedly showing an AIADMK MLA making some claims of pay-offs to ruling party MLAs ahead of the trust vote which was sought and won by the K Palaniswami government on February 18.
The DMK MLAs resorted to high decibel sloganeering even as some of them were seen waving wads of currency notes, newspapers, and held papers with something written.
Dhanapal said there was precedent for not allowing sub-judice matters to be discussed in the House.
He recalled that when the DMK was in power in January 2011, then Speaker R Avudaiyappan had used the ‘sub-judice’ ground to deny permission to an AIADMK member to raise the issue of ‘Nira Radia’ tapes in which DMK MP Kanimozhi’s name had figured.
Asserting that the matter was sub-judice, the Speaker said he will not allow the discussion at any cost.
“I have repeatedly pleaded with you for your cooperation for the smooth running of the House for nearly 45 minutes. But you seemed to have decided deliberately to disrupt proceedings which I cannot allow,” he said before ordering their eviction.
He then read out the names of all DMK MLAs present before summoning the marshals to evict them.
Immediately a security cordon was thrown around the speaker before the DMK MLAs, including Stalin, were escorted out by the marshals.
The DMK’s allies–the Congress and IUML–staged a walkout, expressing solidarity with the main opposition party.
After their eviction, Stalin and other DMK MLAs resorted to a road blockade outside the state secretariat housing the Assembly premises and were detained by the police.
They were subsequently moved to a nearby marriage hall.
Stalin sought the dismissal of the AIADMK government on the alleged horse-trading of MLAs.
“We seek the dismissal of this government. We wanted to seek a CBI enquiry into the case. I had planned to raise these issues after the Question Hour. But I was not allowed to speak,” he told reporters.
“We tried our best till the last minute but they did not heed our demand and evicted us. It is highly condemnable.
Democracy has been buried,” he said.
Earlier, soon after the Question Hour ended, Stalin wanted to raise some issues and was initially allowed by the speaker.
However, when he started to speak about the video footage aired by a TV channel, the speaker denied permission.
Soon, all DMK MLAs were on their feet and they insisted on a discussion on the matter even as the leader of the opposition and his deputy, Duraimurugan, entered into an argument with the speaker.
At one stage, Duraimurugan made some comments which infuriated the speaker and ruling benches with even Chief Minister K Palaniswami asking the veteran opposition leader to refrain from making such remarks, considering he himself is a former minister.
Speaker Dhanapal ordered the remarks to be expunged.
He later asked Commercial Taxes Minister K C Veeramani to table the Tamil Nadu Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 and two of his colleagues too moved their demands for grant for their departments amidst sloganeering by the DMK members.
Dhanapal repeatedly pleaded with the opposition for cooperation saying that the original issue of trust vote was not only sub-judice but that the DMK had also yesterday made a mention in the court about the footage.
He also said concerned MLA S S Saravanan and a member of the rival O Panneerselvam-led AIADMK faction had clarified on the matter.
The MLA had yesterday said the voice in the video footage on alleged horse-trading was not his.