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Palaniswamy is Sasikala’s proxy: Stalin questions legitimacy of Tamil Nadu govt

india Updated: Feb 20, 2017 22:59 IST
Stalin,Tamil Nadu,Palaniswami

DMK the main opposition party in State Assembly and Working President MK Stalin was detained after staging a protest near Mahatma Gandhi statue in Radhakrishnan Salai in Chennai on Saturday.(PTI Photo)

DMK working president MK Stalin on Monday upped the ante against Tamil Nadu’s new chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami. He threatened to move another no-confidence motion against Palaniswami while describing his government as a “proxy” of the convicted AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala.

Stalin left no one in doubt that it is not former caretaker chief minister O Paneerselvam but the DMK that is leading the charge against the Sasikala faction of the ruling AIADMK.

Stalin also questioned the legitimacy of the current state government and said that the party would be seeking an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to submit a report about what happened during the trust vote on Saturday.

“The entire state has seen political turmoil for nine months,” he said on Monday. “Nothing that subsequent governments, including Palaniswami’s, have announced have been put into effect. They have all remained at the proposal stage.”

Promising that the opposition would push for a no-confidence motion in the next assembly session, Stalin termed the events of Saturday, where all 89 of the DMK’s MLAs were expelled by the speaker, as being “against the laws of the assembly.” He also dismissed allegations from the AIADMK that they had engaged in violent activities.

“If I hit you and someone hits me back, that is violence,” the DMK leader said. “We shouted slogans, challenged the AIADMK, and sat in protest in the assembly. How can you call that violence?”

Stalin also tried to leverage the state-wide hunger protests on Wednesday which were organised by the DMK.

“Despite being organised by the DMK, the protests were not about one party tackling another, but about the people of the state questioning their government,” he said as he invited the youth and students to boost the opposition ranks against the Sasikala faction.

The DMK had moved the Madras high court to declare the results of Saturday’s elections null and void. The case will be heard on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the assembly submitted a report Governor Vidyasagar Rao on what happened during Saturday’s ruckus, which saw the House grind to a standstill as furniture and microphones were broken.

The Governor had requested a report following complaints made by both Stalin and former CM O Panneerselvam.

Stalin insists that the floor test was illegitimate as it was conducted without the Opposition. Congress legislators walked out in solidarity with their alliance partners the DMK minutes before the vote was held.

The DMK had demanded a secret ballot during the trust vote sought by Palaniswami, and came out in support of O Panneerselvam during Saturday’s dramatic proceedings.

Palaniswami won the trust vote after 122 MLAs voted for him while 11 voted against the government after speaker P Dhanapal twice adjourned the House within a couple of hours when DMK legislators broke furniture and microphones, threw papers and even occupied his chair.

The 62-year-old CM now has to combat the image of being the convicted general secretary’s puppet, as well as deal with his rebellious predecessor O Panneerselvam.

While the Panneerselvam faction voted against the government on Saturday, giving the AIADMK grounds to expel them, experts say that is unlikely to happen as it would result in by-elections at a time when public sentiment is firmly against the ruling party.

But beyond internal party squabbles, Palaniswami now has to contend with the much more significant threat of MK Stalin, who made it clear that the anti-Sasikala crusade was now being spearheaded by the DMK, and not the OPS faction.

First Published: Feb 20, 2017 21:39 IST