Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao (above centre) has sought a “factual report” on the Saturday’s proceedings in the Assembly after complaints were lodged by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin. On Saturday, the DMK was evicted from the House after they had caused chaos, leading to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s unchallenged win in a floor test to prove his majority. Both Panneerselvam and Stalin had also demanded a secret ballot, which was rejected.
Stalin had also mentioned “extraordinary police presence” on the day of the vote, The Hindu reported. He said security personnel had entered the Assembly presumably on instructions given by the Speaker, and had injured several of his legislators while forcefully evicting them.
“If a confidence motion was moved and the session was adjourned without executing the motion, there should be a gap of six months to move another motion again. But the motion was moved twice on February 18. This is a clear violation and the motion is invalid,” he said. Stalin had asked that Saturday’s proceedings be nullified. His party has planned a hunger strike on February 22.
However, sources told Deccan Chronicle that Rao is unlikely to intervene in the how Assembly proceedings were held. According to them, Rao believes the Opposition and Panneerselvam’s faction can approach the judiciary in the matter. “The Governor is of the view that he cannot interfere in the proceedings of the Assembly and that the Speaker has all the powers to run the House and proceedings. Hence, he is going by the rulebook in not interfering,” unnamed people told the daily.
Meanwhile, legislators supporting Panneerselvam will start campaigning in parts of the state, The Times of India reported.
Panneerselvam had been chief minister after All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa had died in December 2016. He was expelled from the party after he had rebelled against Jayalalithaa’s longtime aide VK Sasikala, who took over the party after her death. Sasikala is now serving time in prison after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case.