Tamil Nadu assembly convenes today, DMK set to corner Palaniswami
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Chennai: As the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly convenes on Wednesday in the midst of the political rumblings in the state, the Edappadi K. Palaniswami-led government is likely to face an aggressive opposition, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), during the stormy three-week session.
While chief minister Palaniswami chaired a cabinet meeting a day ahead of the session on Tuesday to discuss the various issues that have to be dealt with in the assembly, DMK MLAs led by party working president and opposition leader M.K. Stalin held a meeting to strategize the ways to corner the AIADMK government, which is surviving on a wafer-thin majority of 122 legislators in the 234-member assembly.
The DMK also approached the Madras high court on Tuesday seeking a probe into the alleged bribing of AIADMK legislators ahead of a floor test in the state assembly in February, after two MLAs from the rival factions of the ruling party were caught on tape during a joint sting operation by Times Now and Tamil channel Moon TV, claiming that the MLAs were offered money and gold.
Palaniswami will not only have to handle the DMK and the AIADMK rebel faction led by O. Panneerselvam, but also legislators from his own faction who have been extending their support to the AIADMK (Amma) leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
After getting bail on alleged involvement in the Election Commission bribery case and on his return to Chennai earlier this month, Dhinakaran said that he will continue to remain in the party and carry out his duties as usual, sparking confusion. Since then he has rallied the support of over 30 MLAs.
In April, senior ministers had announced that he was sidelined from the party.
“The ruling party is under a big pressure to handle the cut motions, after the demand for grants is moved by the respective minister,” said a senior DMK leader.
Though the ruling AIADMK would be prepared to handle issues like the National Entrance Cum Eligibility Test (NEET), drinking water problems, farmer crisis, cattle ban and others, the opposition DMK will highlight issues that are plaguing the state administration.
Mint had reported in April that the AIADMK’s political dilemma in Tamil Nadu had led to instability in state governance.
A significant move would be introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) bill. “The Tamil Nadu GST bill will be introduced for consideration and passage during this session,” said finance minister D. Jayakumar on Sunday.
As the state gears up for GST implementation, there were neither be new taxes nor tax concessions in the state budget that was presented in March.
Jayakumar had then claimed that the net outstanding debt of the state government would rise to Rs3.14 trillion and revenue deficit is estimated at Rs15,930 crore for the financial year 2017-18.
Meanwhile, Stalin who had recently said that the state is witnessing a “non-performing government”, has constantly highlighted AIADMK’s alleged proximity with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
As accusations abound that the BJP is trying to gain “backdoor” entry in the power corridors of Tamil Nadu by capitalizing on AIADMK’s woes, the DMK is expected to highlight this in the upcoming assembly session.