Left parties on Tuesday staged a walkout of the Assembly, to express their displeasure over the government’s stonewalling against questions on the conduct of the ongoing cooperative society polls. The Left parties have alleged irregularities in the polls, and sought an explanation from the government, which has repeatedly said the matter is not in its hands, and that the Left members would have to direct their queries at the newly formed Tamil Nadu State Cooperative Societies Election Commission.
Members from the CPM and the CPI have been raising a number of concerns over the way the cooperative societies polls are being held, and have demanded answers. But Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju has maintained that the government does not exercise any control over the polls.
“I have explained time and again, this government has set up the Tamil Nadu State Cooperative Societies Election Commission solely to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections. The government exercises no authority over it, hence is not in a position to answer your questions. You should be directing these questions to the Commission,” said Raju.
The Left party MLAs refused to accept this reply and raised objections. When Speaker P Dhanapal refused to permit any further discussion on the matter, they staged a walkout in protest.
Even as they were leaving, House Leader O Panneerselvam rose to say, “The elections are being conducted in a free and fair manner. Results have begun to emerge and positions are being filled. The Commission has been set up just as a lot of parties have demanded in the past. Are they angry now because they are not able to get elected in a free and fair setup? Only the Commission can address their queries.” The Left party members returned to continue to take part in the day’s business.
Puthiya Thamizhagam also joined the Left parties in the walkout over the same issue.
During the zero hour, CPM floor leader A Soundararajan said there were irregularities in the elections to the cooperative societies and made some remarks which were expunged by Speaker P Dhanapal.
Leader of the House O Panneerselvam said already Minister for Cooperation K Raju had replied to the charge and, as such, there was no need for further discussion on the issue.
However, Soundararajan said he was raising an issue relating to an incident that took place after the Minister’s reply.
The Minister said the aggrieved parties could approach the Tamil Nadu State Cooperative Societies Election Commission and lodge a complaint. Later, Soundararajan led his colleagues in a walk-out stating that the Minister’s response to the issue was not satisfactory.