CHENNAI: Playing it safe on the contentious cattle trade restrictions, Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami on Tuesday said his government would wait for the courts to decide on the matter.
His refusal to move a special resolution against the Centre’s notification incensed not just the opposition benches, but even three MLAs, all allies of the AIADMK, who joined the rivals in staging a walk-out from the Assembly.
Responding to opposition leader MK Stalin’s demand during zero hour for a special resolution like the one adopted by Kerala, Meghalaya and neighbouring Puducherry Assemblies, the Chief Minister said the Central government was already seized of the criticism from various quarters that the new restrictions would affect the farming community in many ways.
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan was considering bringing about changes in the new rules, the Chief Minister added.
Palaniswami pointed out that ban on cow slaughter has been in force for the past 40 years in Tamil Nadu. Besides, cases in this regard were pending before the Supreme Court and the Madras High Court.
“Once, the verdicts are out, the State government will act in accordance with the views of the majority of the people, and take an appropriate stand on this issue,” he made it clear.
Initiating the debate, Stalin said the new rules would affect the livelihood of farmers and deprive the religious rights of minorities. In some places, even BJP leaders have opposed this, Stalin said.
Stating that Tamil Nadu government was keeping a studied silence on this issue, he urged Chief Minister Palaniswami to move a special resolution urging the centre to withdraw the new rules.
The Congress floor leader K R Ramasamy and IUML MLA KAM Mohammed Abubacker also made a similar demand.
However, during his response, the Chief Minister remained unmoved. “I had expected that the Chief Minister would at least condemn the new rules,” said Stalin, and led the walkout.
Later, talking to mediapersons, Stalin said the present government in Tamil Nadu was acting according to the wishes of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
AIADMK allies walk out
For the first time, Thameemun Ansari (Jananayaka Manithaneya Makkal Katchi), U Thaniyarasu ( Kongu Ilaignar Peravai) and actor Karunas (Mukkulathor Pulippadai), all allies of the AIADMK too staged a walkout on Tuesday expressing dissatisfaction over Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s stand on cattle trade restrictions.
All the three were elected on the AIADMK symbol in the 2016 Assembly elections, making them AIADMK MLAs for all purposes.
Recently, in a sting operation by a television channel, MLA SS Saravanan had alleged that these three MLAs were offered money for supporting the present government. However, they had stoutly denied it with Saravanan also claiming that the voice in the video was not his.
This walkout comes a day after Thanga Thamizh Selvan, a staunch supporter of deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran, walked out of the House in a huff after Speaker P Dhanapal denied permission to raise a question.
However, on Tuesday, he was seen at the Speaker’s podium and talking to Dhanapal cordially with some request relating to his constituency.