Opposition DMK, whose 80 legislators have been suspended for a week, on Friday conducted a mock session outside the Tamil Nadu assembly to showcase how democracy was functioning in the state.
Locked out of the assembly, the DMK MLAs congregated under the leadership of party treasurer and DMK legislative party leader MK Stalin who sat through the “assembly proceedings” conducted by “Speaker” Durai Murugan.
In the sitting that lasted about an hour, “Speaker” Murugan decreed that his word was law and no other interpretation was permitted. If he asked someone to shut up, the person should sit down, he said pointing to an MLA.
When the MLA wanted to question the government about the plight of the poor, “Speaker” Murugan, imitating the TN state assembly speaker P Dhanpal, dismissed the questioner and ridiculed him asking if that was something to be asked in the House.
“First, you learn how to ask questions and sit down,” the “Speaker” decreed to a peel of laughter and clapping from the “House” that convened under the open skies outside the assembly building’s Gate No 4.
Then Stalin rose up to raise the issue of Cauvery waters and Karnataka government’s decision to erect a dam at Mekedatu on the river. He said it would further choke water supply from Cauvery to Tamil Nadu, adding that “this would not be allowed”.
After this novel protest by the suspended DMK MLAs, Stalin told media persons that they conducted the sitting of the mock assembly to highlight the fact that a live telecast of the proceedings would present the correct picture to the people as to what exactly happens inside the House.
“Even today the DMK MLAs, Congress MLAs and IUML MLAs sought reconsideration of the suspension of 80 DMK MLAs, but the speaker rejected it outright. There is no question of revoking the suspension, the speaker is said to have told the opposition MLAs present in the house today,” he said.
A DMK petition challenging the suspension of MLAs was filed in the Madras high court. Stalin told reporters that the petition was admitted and was slated to come up for hearing on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Stalin led 79 of his party’s legislators in a sit-in outside the Tamil Nadu assembly. Stalin and his party MLAs were evicted from the assembly and suspended following a ruckus over an ‘unparliamentary remark’ by an AIADMK member over the DMK’s pre-election roadshow.