CHENNAI: Turning the tables on DMK MLAs, who have been alleging that they were suspended only to prevent them from taking part in the discussions on demands for grants for police department, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday said the opposition MLAs who have not been suspended, including its president M Karunanidhi, could have taken part in the debate on Monday if their concerns were genuine.
Replying to the debate on demand for grants for the Home department, a portfolio that she holds, Jayalalithaa recalled how she had taken part in the discussion all alone when her party’s MLAs were suspended in 2006. “Does the DMK president have that kind of guts? Does the opposition leader (MK Stalin) have the guts? Karunanidhi should have taken part in the discussion,” she said. Those who came, including a couple of former ministers, soon staged a walk-out, Jaya noted, adding that they could have taken part if their concerns were genuine. “I expected them to take part in the discussions today, and was ready with evidences regarding the disgraceful law and order issues that took place during their regime. I have also submitted evidences to the Speaker, but the need did not arise. They abstained from the discussion because they knew well that they could not counter it,” she added. Meanwhile, outside the House, the Fort St George premises was cordoned off in the wake of reports that the suspended MLAs might stage a dharna. Around 1,300 personnel, led by five Additional Commissioners, took the Secretariat virtually under their control restricting entry of visitors, public and the media. On the road leading to the Secretariat, barricades were erected to create a separate lane for the vehicles of ministers, MLAs and officials.
Earlier, the Madras High Court issued a notice to Assembly Secretary and Chief Secretary following a petition by DMK leaders, but turned down their plea to revoke suspension.