Chennai: With the opposition parties evicted from the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly, the speaker P. Dhanapal on Saturday confirmed that the new chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami won the floor test, leading opposition’s M.K. Stalin to go on fast at Marina beach.
Palaniswami got 122 votes in favour of him and eleven MLAs from the former chief minister camp voted against him.
Opposition leader Stalin along with other Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) legislators came out of the assembly complex with torn shirt addressed the media and he said “DMK protested democratically inside the assembly. But we were assaulted and thrown out.”
Stalin denied the claims of Dhanapal who had alleged DMK for attacking him inside the House. Stalin said, “Speaker tore his own shirt, called us to his chamber and blamed the DMK members.” Congress and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) were also expelled from assembly House.
The DMK leaders headed by Stalin met the governor Vidyasagar Rao and reached the Gandhi statue at Marina beach to begin a hunger strike.
Panneerselvam said, “The MLAs who voted for Edappadi Palaniswami have betrayed Amma. Dharmam will be restored.” He added that the opposition party members were attacked.
The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly was adjourned twice in the day and DMK MLAs were forcibly removed as ruckus continued in the assembly which was geared up to face the floor test for the new chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami to prove he has the support of a majority of the legislators.
After 29 years, the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly witnessed a confidence motion and like 1988, violence erupted—microphones, documents and chairs were damaged. The assembly proceedings, which began at 11am, were adjourned twice as pandemonium continued.
The opposition DMK, Congress, and Panneerselvam’s faction demanded a secret ballot.
“The MLA’s should be allowed to go to their constituencies and come back to vote for the confidence motion,” said former chief minister Panneerselvam.
Stalin questioned on the urgency to conduct the floor test, when governor Rao had given time of 15 days to prove Palaniswami’s majority. Palaniswami was sworn in on Thursday, along with a 31-member cabinet, and was asked to seek the vote of confidence in the next 15 days.
Before stalling the proceedings for the second time, the speaker ordered eviction of DMK MLAs who refused to move out of the House.
As the late chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s seat fell vacant after her demise on 5 December, the strength of the assembly was at 233. With DMK president M. Karunanidhi absent due to his ill health and Coimbatore North MLA Arun Kumar having decided to abstain from the confidence vote, after claiming that he was unhappy with the influence of V.K. Sasikala, on Saturday morning—the assembly strength was at 231. And, minus the speaker—who can vote only in case of a tie— the voting number had come down to 230.
“We have decided to vote against the Edappadi K. Palaniswami government in the assembly”, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Su Thirunavukkarasar told reporters at the party headquarters on Saturday morning just minutes before the assembly session.