Altercation over remarks made by Minister

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members, including floor leader M. K. Stalin, were suspended from the Assembly for two days on Monday following an altercation with Speaker P. Dhanapal over the remarks made by Public Works Minister K. V. Ramalingam on the Cauvery and Periyar dam issues.

Trouble began when the Minister read out a statement during a discussion on Karnataka’s attempt to construct dams across the Pennar. The DMK members, led by Durai Murugan, objected to some of the remarks made by the Minister.

The Finance Minister, O. Panneerselvam, intervened to say that though the DMK was in a position to get the Cauvery award gazetted and raise the level of the Periyar dam as per the direction of the Supreme Court it did not do so. It was the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, who secured the rights of Tamil Nadu in the two inter-State river water issues.

Mr. Durai Murugan wanted to raise a point and he was joined by his colleagues.

The Speaker said when they were given time to reply, the member was trying to raise another issue.

When the DMK members were not allowed to reply to the points raised by the PWD Minister, they rushed to the well of the House and squatted near the Speaker’s chair, raising slogans. As they continued with their protest, seeking an opportunity to speak, the Speaker asked the Marshal to evict them.

Mr. Panneerselvam objected to the behaviour of the DMK members even after they were given an opportunity to speak.

He called for action from the Speaker alleging that they had come with a plan to disrupt the proceedings.

The Speaker said the DMK MLAs were given an opportunity to speak despite paucity of time on a day when demands for grants from two Ministers were to be passed.

Later, Mr. Panneerselvam moved a motion for suspending the DMK members on Monday and Tuesday for lowering the dignity of the House.

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