Hyderabad: Eighty opposition legislators of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), including its leader M.K. Stalin, were evicted from the Tamil Nadu assembly and suspended for a week on Wednesday, following protests in the House.
DMK is the biggest opposition party in the 232-member House dominated by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Commotion followed when a member of legislative assembly (MLA) of the ruling party mocked at a state-wide, pre-election roadshow conducted by Stalin. In an obvious reference to Stalin, MLA Gunasekaran commented that “some people had undertaken a roadshow and went around the state but failed to capture power," Hindustan Times reported.
Gunasekaran’s remarks triggered an uproar with DMK MLAs requesting speaker P. Dhanapal to expunge the remarks. The speaker turned down the request on the grounds that the AIADMK legislator did not name anyone in particular, while making those remarks.
When DMK MLAs began raising slogans and started marching towards the well of the House, the speaker ordered mass eviction of all protesting members. Marshals then physically carried some opposition members including Stalin outside.
Following their en masse eviction, O. Panneerselvam, leader of the House and state finance minister, moved a resolution against opposition MLAs. Speaker Dhanapal then ordered a week-long suspension of all DMK members.
The opposition described the suspension as a “conspiracy" to prevent the DMK from participating in important discussions in the House. Stalin accused ruling party members of making comments to provoke the opposition.
The leader of the opposition told reporters outside the House that the eviction and suspension of MLAs was a planned action to prevent them from raising issues during the demand for debate for grants to the home department, which is being handled by chief minister Jayalalithaa.
“It is a conspiracy to deny the DMK a chance to participate in important discussions. The chief minister and the speaker have conspired to get the DMK MLAs suspended," Stalin alleged, according to Hindustan Times.