Heated exchange over tribunal final award notification
Chaos prevailed in the Assembly on Tuesday afternoon as a noisy verbal exchange broke out over the notification of final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. This led to the eviction of four Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) members, followed by a walkout by other members.
Speaking on the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address, DMK member Kovai Chezian raised the Cauvery water issue and said Cauvery delta districts bore the look of a barren desert. The State government had failed to help the farmers by compensating them adequately.
Intervening, Leader of the House O. Panneerselvam said the DMK did not have the moral right to talk on the Cauvery delta crisis, as it had failed to take the initiative to get the Cauvery award notified in Central gazette, even though it was a constituent of the UPA government. It was due to the sustained efforts of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that the final award was set to get notified before February 20.
“There are several reasons for the death of farmers in the region. The Chief Minister will announce a right compensation package at the right time,” he said.
Chipping in, Housing Minister R. Vaithilingam made some remarks against DMK members and this led to a heated exchange of words.
Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan said the DMK members had no locus standi to talk on the Cauvery issue. To this, DMK Legislature Party Leader M.K. Stalin retorted: “We have more competence than you to speak on the subject.”
Angry DMK members urged the Speaker P. Dhanapal to expunge some words uttered by the Treasury Benches in relation to the previous regime, terming them baseless.
When the Speaker refused to do so, Mr. Stalin said they would be forced to stage a dharna in protest. Other DMK members, Thangam Thennarasu, Cumbum N. Ramakrishnan, J. Anbazhagan and R. Sakkarapani sat in front of the Speaker’s chair and raised slogans. Subsequently, Mr. Dhanapal ordered their eviction. Immediately, Mr. Stalin and other members then staged a walkout.
Earlier in the day, a war of words between the ruling party and the DMK members resulting in Mr. Stalin leading his party members out of the House.
The problem started when AIADMK member C. Vijaybasker launched a scathing attack on the DMK regime and referred to former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi by name.
He wanted to know whether Mr Karunanidhi would come forward to withdraw his party from the Congress-led UPA at the Centre because he had failed to get the final award of the Cauvery Water Tribunal notified, whereas, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had succeeded in achieving it.
The DMK members and Mr. Stalin took exception to Mr. Vijaybasker’s remarks, saying he should not call their leader by his name.
“When we were in power, we did not call your leader by name. We even expunged such references,” Mr. Stalin said.
But Electricity Minister R. Viswanathan said it was expunged only once and many times former Minister Duraimurugan and K. Ponmudi had used the AIADMK leader’s name.
When he resumed his speech, Mr. Vijaybasker alleged that the previous government only cared for the interest of the Chief Minister’s sons and daughters and deposited money in Swiss bank accounts.
Mr. Stalin wanted the Speaker to expunge the remarks. But the Speaker said the member had not specifically named the DMK government, but referred to a previous government.
Unhappy with his reply, Mr. Stalin staged a walkout with his party members.
Members of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) came to the house in black shirts to protest against “the failure of the government” to give adequate relief to Cauvery Delta farmers.