Ruling AIADMK nominee, P Dhanapal was today unanimously elected Speaker of the 15th Tamil Nadu Assembly, the first to be elected for a consecutive second term in the state’s legislative history even as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said her government will respect Opposition’s constructive views.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa proposed the names of Dhanapal and Pollachi V Jayaraman as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam seconded their names when the Assembly met.
Soon after, protem Speaker Semmalai formally announced the unanimous election of P Dhanapal as Speaker.
Later, Finance Minister and Leader of the House O Panneerselvam and Leader of Opposition MK Stalin together led Dhanapal to the Speaker’s chair in consonance with the tradition of the legislature.
Hailing Jayalalithaa for her “historic” electoral victory given by the people, Dhanapal said she fought the election all alone, slogged alone focusing on her achievements, and protected “Dharma.”
He assured opportunities to all parties in debates in the House. Later, he announced the unanimous election of Pollachi Jayaraman as Deputy Speaker.
Dhanapal was elected Speaker in 2002 for the first time in the previous AIADMK regime. Also, he was the first Dalit to become Speaker after 1955.
J Sivashanmugam Pillai was the first Dalit Speaker between 1946 and 1955 of the then “Madras Legislative Assembly.
In her address lauding Speaker Dhanapal and Deputy Speaker Pollachi Jayaraman, Jayalalithaa said, “as regards AIADMK, we do not devise our activities based on the numbers (strength) of the Opposition.”
“I can assure that we will respect the constructive opinions of the opposition, seeing their views and how they reflect the people’s views,” she said.
She quoted Dravidian ideologue CN Annadurai’s views on ruling and opposition parties.
She quoted him as saying, “in a democracy ruling and opposition parties are two sides of the same coin. If one side was right and the other was mangled, it will become invalid.”
“AIADMK has Anna’s name in the party and his image on its flag. Following Anna and party founder MGR’s ideals, we will give full cooperation to uphold democratic traditions,” she said, adding, opposition parties should express constructive views, useful for the people.
Jayalalithaa said it was a double delight for her that Dhanapal was elected unanimously and that he was elected for a second consecutive term for the first time in the history of Tamil Nadu Assembly.
“This position came to you (Dhanapal) due to your competence, ability and experience,” she said, hailing him and pointed out that he came from humble origins, being born in a poor agriculture family in a backward village.
Lauding him for his impartiality, she said there was no doubt that he would continue to be so like “the needle in a weighing scale.”
She also praised Deputy Speaker Jayaraman as one bestowed with a resonant voice and eloquence and for his rich experience as a legislator, minister and deputy speaker.
She said, at a time when several parties could not find a place in the Assembly, both the ruling and opposition parties had a “huge responsibility of working to protect people’s interests.”
She thanked the people of Tamil Nadu for re-electing her regime, a first since 1984 and to the voters of her Dr RK Nagar constituency for electing her again.
Leader of Opposition, Stalin greeted Speaker Dhanapal and Deputy Speaker Jayaraman and said his party has faith in them, adding, Speaker should be neutral to all parties.
He said DMK will be the “Opposition party and not an enemy party.”
He also said his party would cooperate with the ruling party and cited issues involving the State’s interests.
Congress floor leader KR Ramaswamy and IUML member Mohammed Abubacker too greeted the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Dhanapal later adjourned the House to June 16.
He also administered the oath to the Anglo-Indian nominated MLA Nancy Ann Cynthia Francis.