Speaker refers DMDK protest to panel

Speaker D. Jayakumar on Wednesday referred the protest of DMDK members against his discretionary powers in allotting rooms for MLAs to Privileges Committee for further action.

DMDK members protested in the House on Tuesday agai-nst the size of their room and had attributed motives to Speaker’s action in doing so.

The Speaker referred to the Privileges Committee after leader of the House and finance minister O. Panneerselvam raised the issue in the Assembly and said it had prima facie evidence.

“It is the sole discretion of the Speaker to decide on allotting the space for MLAs. To attribute motives or to cast aspersions goes against the basic tenets of the functioning of Assembly,” Mr Panneerselvam said and pointed out that despite several pleas from the Speaker, DMDK members attributed motives in the Assembly and gave interviews outside the Assembly accusing the Speaker of being politically motivated.

The finance minister noted that in reducing the size of the room, the Speaker was only accommodating the repeated requests of Congress MLAs to give them space. “Also, not much changes were made to the room of DMDK MLAs. They still enjoy all facilities as they earlier did.”

Besides protesting the reduction of room size on Tuesday, DMDK MLAs also gave three letters addressed to chief minister, to finance minister who is also the presidium chairman, and the Speaker.

“In the letter addressed to me, they have attributed political motives to the Speaker,” Panneerselvam noted. The finance minister also accused DMDK MLAs of acting at ‘somebody else’s behest since the room change was done on April 16 but the issue was taken only a day later.’

“The protests of DMDK MLAs goes against the rights of the House. Hence I request the Speaker to refer the issue to the Privileges Committee” Mr Panneerselvam said, following which the Speaker ruled that the issue would be sent to the committee.

A day of walkouts for DMK MLAs

DMK MLAs, who returned to the Assembly after a week’s boycott, staged walkouts twice on Wednesday even as Speaker D. Jayakumar evicted DMK member J. Anbazhagan for using an unparliamentary word.

DMK members walked out of Assembly, once after the Speaker refused to expunge remarks made by a minister and again when party colleague Anbazhagan was evicted from the House.

After E. V. Velu moved a call attention on Kandaleru reservoir, PWD minister K. V. Ramalingam ridiculed the DMK saying “it is strange that those who ‘gave up on Cauvery are concerned about Kandaleru.” DMK MLAs rose to their feet protesting the remark.

Floor leader M. K. Stalin, led his men out when the Speaker refused to expunge the remarks after finance minister O. Paneerselvam said the minister only referred to DMK’s bungling on the Cauvery issue, when it was part of the Central government.

On returning to the House, DMK members again staged a walkout, after they clashed with school education minister N.R. Sivapathy.

The problem arose when former DMK minister Thangam Thennarasu found fault with text books printed under samacheer kalvi syllabus.

They protested when the minister said the previous DMK government had wasted public money of Rs 300 crore to include the history of their leaders in the syllabus.

When the Speaker ordered the eviction of Anbazhagan after ruling party members complained that he used an unparliamentary word, DMK members staged a walkout in protest.

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