CHENNAI: The 24-day budget session, which concluded on Wednesday, was indeed fiery in terms of discussions, evictions, expunctions, challenges, walkouts, warnings from the Chair, etc. But at the same time, the House was indeed relaxed on many counts and everyone felt that the absence of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and inborn problems faced by the present government headed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had contributed to the vital changes. There was a sea change in the atmosphere, compared to what it was during the past six years.
Significantly, Speaker P Dhanapal seemed to be a reborn person; he conducted the House proceedings at his own will. Many times, he called a spade a spade. All along, he showed his straightforwardness in dealing with members on both sides. He gave many opportunities to opposition members, particularly those belonging to the DMK.
Dhanapal even rebuked many ministers when they spoke irrelevantly. He had cut short the speeches of some ministers when they stretched their replies and did not mince words while doing so. Indeed, this attitude of the Speaker was not relished by the treasury benches and it was visible. AIADMK MLA Thanga Thamizh Selvan, supporter of T T V Dhinakaran, staged a ‘quiet’ walkout protesting the Speaker’s denial of opportunity to speak. On another occasion, Dhanapal warned A Ramu for his behaviour. Significantly, the Speaker expunged the remarks of the Chief Minister perhaps for the first time when Leader of Opposition M K Stalin demanded it.
The otherwise silent CM proved his mettle in giving extempore replies whenever questions were raised regarding his departments and took active participation in the proceedings. He did not lose his temper even when there were fierce debates. In contrast, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam stayed mum throughout the session.
But the MLAs supporting Dhinakaran made their presence felt. While V Senthil Balaji made scathing attack on GST imposed on textile industry, Thanga Thamizh Selvan raised many issues relating to his constituencies. Unfailingly, they hailed V K Sasikala and Dhinakaran in the House.
The DMK was very active in raising at least a few important issues every day during the question hour and zero hour and Stalin cornered the ruling party on many issues. During the initial days of the budget session, the DMK members were seen staging walkout almost on a regular basis. After facing criticism over this, Stalin had to clarify that the DMK members, in exercise of their democratic right, were staging walkout to register their protest over people’s issues but return to House quickly to take part in the debates.
The AIADMK members did not rise from their seats whenever the Chief Minister entered the House and left as they did until Jayalalithaa was there. They were all seated in a relatively relaxed manner. Besides, the leaders in the front treasury benches were seen exchanging jokes with opposition leaders, particularly the DMK top brass and sharing smiles. Of course, they were at loggerheads during discussions.
The Speaker sprang a surprise when when he pardoned the seven DMK MLAs though the privileges committee of the House recommended their suspension for six months as punishment for their behaviour during the trust vote on February 18. Deputy Leader of Opposition Durai Murugan also sprang a surprise when he openly hailed Law Minister CVe Shanmugam for proving his mettle by replying to the discussion on the demands for grants for his department extempore.
AIADMK members added Edappadiyar’s name while heaping praises on the leaders - Jayalalithaa and MGR. Many hailed Palaniswami as Kongu Naattu Singam.
The three allies of the party - U Thaniyarasu (Kongu Ilaignar Peravai), actor S Karunas (Mukkulathor Pulippadai) and Thameemun Ansari (Jananayaka Manithaneya Makkal Katchi) - adopted a separate line from the party on key issues.
There were also efforts for patch-up in the two factions of the AIADMK. A few ministers met OPS in MLAs’ waiting room in the Assembly complex. Later, a few more ministers met him in the Speaker’s chamber. And MLAs of the OPS faction mixed with the EPS faction freely.
Speaker allows 32 MLAs to raise issues in constituencies
Chennai: Speaker P Dhanapal on Wednesday allowed as many as 32 MLAs, most of them from the DMK, to raise the issues relating to their constituencies and directed the ministers concerned to look into the issues. The Speaker said many MLAs came to his chamber and requested him to allow them to raise the issues. The Speaker told the ministers that instead of replying they could take action to resolve them.
Assembly adjourned sine die following 24 days of business
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Assembly was adjourned sine die on Wednesday following 24 days of intense debates on demands for grants to government departments and spirited discussions on important issues. Winding up the session, which began on June 14, Speaker P Dhanapal stated that as many as 140 members participated in the debate on demands for grants spreading over 63 hours.
25 Bills passed on last day of Assembly session
Chennai: Adoption of 25 Bills was part of the business transacted on the eventful last day of the session.
All the Bills except the TN Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, were passed without discussion as the DMK members were absent following their walk-out.
Six reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General were also laid on the table of the House.
Uproar as DMK MLAs display gutka packets in Assembly
Chennai: Assembly on Wednesday witnessed an uproar as DMK legislators raised a hue and cry over availability of banned chewing tobacco products including gutka by showing packets in the House. Leader of Opposition MK Stalin alleged that the banned tobacco products were freely available in shops in the city. The members, who brought the banned products inside the House, may face action for breach of privileges.
Govt keeps vigil on banned tobacco products: CM
Chennai: Following the DMK legislators creating ruckus in the Assembly, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy said the government has been remaining vigilant against sale of banned tobacco products. “As far as Amma’s government is concerned, we are keeping vigil against sale of the banned tobacco products and due action is being taken,” he told the House in response to Congress MLA KR Ramasamy’s concerns.