The Tamil Nadu Assembly witnessed an unsavoury scene on Friday, when members of the opposition Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) clashed among themselves, with legislators loyal to the party leadership getting into fisticuffs with dissident MLAs, who spoke in support of the ruling AIADMK.
Some DMDK MLAs were seen exchanging blows with the party’s rebel legislator S. Michael Royappan. Speaker P. Dhanapal later ordered the eviction of the DMDK members.
Describing the DMDK members’ behaviour as “barbaric and shameful”, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam demanded appropriate action against the MLAs who attacked Mr. Royappan.
The Speaker said action would be taken against the DMDK members, including party whip V. C. Chandrakumar, B. Parthasarathy, C.H. Sekar, and L. Venkatesan, after referring the issue to the Privileges Committee.
“I will watch the video recordings and find out who indulged in the attack. Action will also be taken against them. I will refer the issue to the Privileges Committee under Rule 226 of the Assembly rules,” he said.
Trouble started after DMDK MLA K. Tamil Azhagan, who now supports the ruling party, asked other MLAs to follow him in serving the people of their constituencies. Raising a supplementary question during Question Hour, Mr. Tamil Azhagan commended the positive attitude of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa towards implementing welfare projects in his constituency Tittakudi).
Shouting at Mr. Tamil Azhagan Mr Chandrakumar rushed towards him along with few other members of the party. Mr. Tamil Azhagan and three other MLAs, who fell out with DMDK leadership, sit separately in the Assembly.
The House plunged into pandemonium, as DMDK MLAs and its estranged members indulged in a slanging match. Suddenly, blows were exchanged. Ruling party members raised their voice in support of Mr. Tamil Azhagan and Mr. Royappan.
Mr. Panneerselvam said while Mr. Tamil Azhagan was making a speech in a gentle manner, without hurting anyone, Mr. Chandrakumar tried to attack him.
“Mr. Michael Royappan, who sought to intervene, was also attacked. It is a shameful and barbaric act. Stringent action should be taken against the DMDK members who indulged in the attack,” Mr. Panneerselvam said.
Panruti S. Ramachandran, DMDK’s deputy leader in the Assembly submitted a report of the Public Accounts Committee. Later, he staged a walkout.
“I did not know what happened as I could not see it as clearly as the Finance Minister could. I remained in the House to complete my democratic duty. Now, I leave the House to fulfil my duty as a party leader,” he said.
DMDK leader Vijayakant was not present in the House.
Later talking to reporters, Mr. Chandrakumar accused Mr. Tamil Azhagan of utilising Question Hour for a debate and reading out a text prepared by the ruling party in praise Ms. Jayalalithaa.