From his unbuttoned shirt and a fiery demeanour at a massive protest rally at the iconic Marina beach, just after being evicted from the assembly on Saturday, it was clear DMK leader MK Stalin wants to take the issue to the people.
Experts say it is part of a calculated strategy to raise question on the legitimacy of the government that won a trust vote in the absence of most of the opposition MLAs.
EK Palaniswami, a loyalist of AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, won the trust vote 122-11, after DMK legislators were evicted from the assembly and Congress staging a walkout in protest amid stormy scenes.
The DMK held protest in several parts of the state questioning the legitimacy of the government.
The DMK is the principal opposition party with 89 seats and support of eight Congress and one IUML legislators.
“There is nothing wrong in asking for a secret vote even through conventions and rules of the House may not provide for it, given the extraordinary circumstances that led to the formation of the government amid allegation of MLAs being forcefully confined in a resort,” a political analyst said.
But Stalin’s lodged the protest with the governor and took the issue to the people in a calculated move to occupy the mind space of the masses, who perceive O Panneerselvam as a hero who revolted against Sasikala, he said.
Stalin hit out at Sasikala and her family and stated that “there is no government or governance in Tamil Nadu for the past several months.”
Local body polls will be held in the state soon and Stalin through the tough posturing is trying to set an agenda for the elections.
“Trust vote is not everything. There will be enough opportunities for Stalin to corner the government even in the assembly. Budget session is coming up which will be an important test for the government as it will be under constant pressure due to lack of credibility, particularly after the floor test was conducted without opposition,” said Professor Ramu Manivannan of the Madras University.
“Perhaps the DMK knew Palaniswami will win the trust vote anyway. So it was better to reinforce the doubt over its legitimacy in the eyes of the people,” Prof Manivannan said.
Speaker P Dhanpal in his concluding remarks after the trust vote, had noted that the government would have won the confidence motion even if the DMK and the Congress members were present in the assembly.