OPS welcomes bill on AIADMK’s behalf, EPS objects, triggers ruckus in assembly | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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OPS welcomes bill on AIADMK’s behalf, EPS objects, triggers ruckus in assembly

Mar 23, 2023 04:52 PM IST

AIADMK’s interim general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) objected saying OPS cannot speak for the party

O Panneerselvam (OPS), the expelled leader of the opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), on Thursday welcomed the bill seeking to ban online gambling in Tamil Nadu on behalf of the party and triggered a ruckus in the state assembly.

O Panneerselvam. (Twitter)
O Panneerselvam. (Twitter)

AIADMK’s interim general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) objected saying OPS cannot speak for the party before the two walked out of the House. “On behalf of the AIADMK, we welcome the re-introduction of the bill against online gambling,” said OPS.

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EPS protested as OPS sat down and said one person has been asked to speak for each party. “I lead the AIADMK. I am the leader of the opposition. Thalavai Sundaram has already spoken for our party [supporting the bill]. So why are you calling for another opinion again?” EPS asked speaker M Appavu.

EPS said a majority of AIADMK lawmakers are with him as supporters of the two started yelling at each other. The AIADMK has 66 members in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly. OPS has the support of three lawmakers.

Legislators from both the EPS and OPS camps raised slogans against each other. OPS supporters insisted he is also the party’s leader under the scrapped dual leadership model.

Appavu explained he allowed OPS to speak because he is a former chief minister. “I did not say he was the deputy leader of the opposition. I could not deny him an opportunity when he asked permission to speak,” Appavu said. “There is no change...the leader of the opposition is Edappadi Palaniswami. This is an important bill and both of you have recorded your statements.”

EPS continued to argue as the ruckus continued. EPS’s supporter K P Munusamy tried to persuade lawmakers on their side to be seated. OPS pulled him back by his arm. At this point, EPS’s supporters walked out unconvinced by Appavu’s reply but came back to the House within a few minutes.

After the EPS-led AIADMK expelled OPS in July, they urged the speaker to change their seats in the House, where they sit next to each other. The request was denied.

In October, EPS and OPS approached the speaker for recognising their respective factions as the real AIADMK. The EPS faction boycotted the assembly as the speaker did not take a call on it. Appavu said that he “is bound to recognise all the MLAs”.

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