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Opposition DMK members bundled out of TN Assembly for disrupting proceedings

S Murari | Updated on: 18 August 2016, 12:04 IST

In a first of its kind incident, at least in recent times, opposition DMK members were evicted en masse from the Tamil Nadu Assembly and suspended for a week on Wednesday after Speaker N Dhanapalan held them for disrupting the proceedings.

The eviction followed heated exchanges between the opposition DMK and the ruling AIADMK members over a remark made by of them against Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin.

AIDMK said that despite his hectic mass-contact programme in the run-up to the May elections, he failed to capture power.

The DMK members, led by deputy leader Durai Murugan, protested against the remark and said the ruling party men were unnecessarily hampering the smooth functioning of the House and demanded that the remark be expunged.

The Speaker ruled it out saying that the concerned member did not name Stalin and only made a general remark.

Adding to the ruckus

At this juncture, Stalin entered the House and referred to a reported remark along the similar vein by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa .

The treasury benches denied that Jayalalithaa made any such remark.

Finding the ruling party unyielding, the 89-strong DMK opposition resorted to sloganeering and holding up the proceedings.

Putting his foot down

As uproar continued unabated, the Speaker called the marshals in and the guards bundled Stalin and Durai Murugan out of the House.

As unruly scenes continued in the lobby the guards removed the remaining members from the House.

Resisting expulsion, the protesting members scuffled with the watch and ward staff and shouted that democracy was being trampled upon in the House.

After their removal, the Speaker ordered a week's suspensin, acting on a resolution moved by the Leader of the House O Pannerselvam.

The clash

This was the first face-off between the ruling and opposition members since Jayalalithaa returned to power with a comfortable majority in a divided mandate that saw a powerful opposition emerging in the House.

The mandate was for the ruling party to carry the Opposition with it.

After the expulsion, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Generally, when the House meets again, the ruling may reconsider the decision, mostly on a request from other members.

Such is the peculiar composition of the present House, the entire Opposition is made up of DMK men.

The AIADMK has some minor allies like the Muslim League. Any of them can plead for leniency in the larger interest of smooth functioning of the House.

Previously, actor Vijayakanth's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) has been suspended for entire sessions.

Worse still, Jayalalithaa effortlessly broke up his party and let a smaller group function as a pro-AIADMK group in the House.

Not a first

Such expulsions are not new in the Tamil Nadu Assembly's history. Unlike in Parliament when presiding officers adjourn the House whenever the Opposition hold up proceedings, in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, elements considered unruly by the chair are thrown out as a matter of routine.

There have also been instances in the 50 years of legislative history when the House has been broken and parallel sessions have been held.

At one time, during MGR's rule, DMK members were disqualified from the membership over an agitation they held outside the house.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

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First published: 18 August 2016, 12:04 IST