CHENNAI: The proceedings of the State Assembly were stalled for over 45 minutes on Wednesday, following the ‘scarecrow’ remark made by S Muthiah, AIADMK MLA from Paramakudi. Due to this, Minister for Electricity P Thangamani’s reply to the discussion on the demands for grants for his department had to be postponed for Thursday. Speaker P Dhanapal ended the proceedings of the House for the day at 2.10 pm, charging that he had to do so since the DMK members were adamant on not extending cooperation to run the House.
However, the DMK members remained in the House for around four minutes criticising the Speaker and later, they also left.
Since Speaker P Dhanapal firmly ruled out expunging the remark, the DMK MLAs were on their feet and raised slogans against the Speaker and there were noisy scenes. At one point of time, AIADMK MLA P Vetrivel almost came to fisticuffs with DMK MLA Y Prakash (DMK) from Thalli and an untoward incident was avoided by the interference of other members.
It all started when S Muthiah (AIADMK), in his speech, said “what if there are 89 ‘vayakaattu bommaikal’ (scarecrows),” sparking a flash protest from DMK members , who were on their feet demanding the expunction of the remark. The Speaker said since the member did not mention any name, his words need not be expunged.
Intervening, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said ‘vayakaattu bommaikal’ was neither an unparliamentary word nor an obscene word. Further, the member did not refer to any one. “I can’t understand why the Opposition members are making noise over this,” she wondered.
As the DMK members continue to insist on the expunction of the remark and desired an opportunity to express their views, the Speaker refused to grant the request stating that he had already given his ruling on the issue and no one could speak on that subject again.
Intervening, Jayalalithaa said Muthiah was referring to the scarecrows in paddy fields. “I can’t understand why the opposition members should assume that the ‘vayakaattu bommaikal’ remark refers to them”, she added. Later, the Speaker allowed Leader of Opposition M K Stalin to speak with a condition that he should not speak on his ruling. Agreeing, Stalin referred to the remark of Muthiah. As he could complete, Leader of the House O Panneerselvam intervened and said Stalin had started speaking on the Speaker’s ruling and it could not be allowed.
Following this, the DMK members started making noise again and raised slogans against the Speaker. After some time, he allowed Stalin again to make his point but without touching his ruling. Agreeing, Stalin made a remark which was immediately expunged by the Speaker. Protesting, Stalin said his remark should also be on the record or the Speaker should expunge the remarks made by him and the AIADMK MLA.
However, the Speaker declined to accept it and requested the DMK members to cooperate in continuing the business of the House. Since the DMK MLAs were on their feet, the Speaker said “since the DMK members fail to extend cooperation, the proceedings of the House for the day come to an end now. The House will meet again tomorrow at 10 am and the Minister will give his reply tomorrow.”