DMK today made a vain bid to raise the issue of alleged horse-trading of AIADMK MLAs and staged a walkout in Tamil Nadu Assembly along with its allies Congress and IUML after Speaker P Dhanapal disallowed their plea for the second day. A day after the matter rocked the Assembly leading to en masse eviction of DMK members, Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin tried to raise the issue “of some legislators being in the news” for the past three days. However, the Speaker said he had already given his ruling on this matter yesterday that it could not be discussed on sub-judice ground. Also, it was based on media reports.
The matter related to purported claims by O Panneerselvam camp MLA S S Saravanan in a TV ‘sting’ operation about alleged pay-offs to ruling party MLAs ahead of the February 18 trust vote that was won by incumbent Chief Minister K Palaniswami. DMK members had yesterday staged a noisy protest waving currency notes after their demand for a debate on the alleged horse-trading was disallowed. They later staged a road blockade outside the state secretariat and were briefly detained by police. While demanding the dismissal of the AIADMK government over the alleged pay-offs issue, Stalin had said he would raise the the issue in the assembly today also.
Attempting to raise the matter, Stalin today said the assembly rules only disallowed “expression of opinion” in an ongoing court case and tried to seek the nod of the chair for a discussion. Dhanapal, however, did not allow his plea. Soon, all the DMK MLAs stood up and walked out of the House led by Stalin. After the DMK members left, Congress Legislature Party Leader K R Ramasamy said their party too was walking out as the chair did not accord permission to raise the matter. The lone IUML member K A M Muhammad Abubacker followed suit. Dhanapal, later cited precedents from the House records beginning from the 4th Assembly in 1972 to the first quarter of 2011, which was the fag end of the previous DMK regime, to say that discussion based on media reports sans proof could not be allowed. He said speakers on various points of time had ruled against discussion based on media reports.
Even Stalin (then a Minister in DMK regime), then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and senior DMK leader K Anbazhagan had said that discussion based on media reports without evidence was not allowable in the House. Dhanapal later said if members had evidence for their claims, it could be submitted to him and if found in order, he would allow a discussion. He asserted that nobody could criticise his ruling and said an end should be put to the matter. Later, speaking to reporters outside the assembly, Stalin said the government should “resign” taking moral responsibility for the alleged pay-off episode. He said at least a CBI inquiry should be held into the matter.
Stalin said his party has sought an appointment with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to take up the matter with him. On June 13, the DMK had approached the Madras High Court seeking a probe by CBI and DRI into the alleged payoffs to some ruling AIADMK MLAs ahead of the trust vote. The court had said that the matter would be taken up in regular course for hearing tomorrow.