DMK members evicted, suspended en masse in TN assembly, Stalin

bundled out Chennai, Aug 17 (PTI) DMK members in Tamil Nadu Assemblywere today evicted enmasse and its leader M K Stalinphysically carried by marshals after pandemonium broke outduring their strong protests against remarks by a rulingAIADMK MLA apparently ridiculing the Leader of the Opposition. Later, the government moved a resolution suspending theDMK members for a week which was passed by voice vote. DMK has89 members in the AIADMK-dominated 234-member assembly. Speaker P Dhanapal ordered eviction of the DMK members byassembly marshals after they stood up and insisted onexpunging the remarks even after he rejected their demand andasked them to cooperate for the smooth conduct of the House. Trouble erupted during the debate on demands for grantsfor the Housing and IT departments when AIADMK member SGunasekaran, without naming Stalin, made some remarks aboutthe ‘Namaku Naame’ programme undertaken by the DMK Treasurerin the run up to this year’s assembly election. During the ‘Namakku Naame’ programme, Stalin hadextensively toured the state and interacted with people. The remarks about the programme triggered strongobjection from the DMK members who wanted the Speaker toexpunge them. Dhanapal, however, said the MLA had not made any pointedreference to anyone and therefore there was no need to expungethe remarks. DMK Deputy Leader Durai Murugan said ‘Namakku Naame’ wasan initiative of Stalin and therefore the remarks refer onlyto him and sought their expunction. At one point, Stalin himself rose and said he was proudthat ‘Namakku Naame’ had featured in an assembly debate. Healso made some remarks which were later expunged by theSpeaker. Following this, the DMK members stood up and opposed theSpeaker’s action even as Dhanapal asked them to cooperate inthe smooth conduct of the House. Since the DMK members did not heed his repeated pleas, hesummoned the marshals to evict the agitating MLAs. Stalin, who was physically removed, staged a brief sit-inbefore being finally taken out of the House. The Speaker later said he had to resort to such an actionas the DMK members did not heed his pleas for cooperation. Leader of the House and Finance Minister O Panneerselvamthen moved a resolution for the suspension of the DMK membersfor a week, which was passed by a voice vote in the AIADMK-dominated House. After this, the Speaker said today’s proceedings of theHouse have ended and asked Housing Minister Udumalpet KRadhakrishnan and IT Minister M Manikandan to give theirreplies to the debate on their departments tomorrow. Earlier, explaining the rationale behind his decision toevict DMK members, Speaker Dhanapal said they had made it a"practice" to stall proceedings "right from day one" of theongoing session and not allowing him run the House smoothly. "This was a situation where I had no other option." Later, speaking to reporters, Stalin said the comments byGunasekaran were "unwarranted". PTI SA VS GSNGSN

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