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News Category

Jayalalithaa, Vijayakant clash in Assembly

Date: Feb 02, 2012

Marking an acrimonious end to their fragile alliance, the ruling AIADMK and main opposition DMDK on Wednesday clashed bitterly in the Assembly in a heated exchange of political barbs, resulting in the eviction of all DMDK members, including Leader of the Opposition Vijayakant.

Minutes after they were removed from the House, Speaker D. Jayakumar announced that the conduct of Mr. Vijayakant and other Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) members would be referred to the Privileges Committee as it tended to lower the dignity of the House. The Opposition Leader was pulled up for gesticulating angrily at ruling party members, who were trying to shout him down in the midst of an uproar. “He should not have raised his hand and pointed his fingers in such a manner,” the Speaker said.

In a strongly worded intervention, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa lashed out at Mr. Vijayakant, terming his conduct “disgusting and crude” and went on to question his suitability for his office. “The Opposition Leader's conduct today is an example of what will happen if undeserving persons suddenly find themselves in high positions,” she said.

“I want to put it on record now that I was never keen on this alliance (with the DMDK). I agreed to it only to satisfy my party cadre,” she said. She asserted that her party would have swept the Assembly elections even without the DMDK. Arguing that the people were already in a mood for a change of regime when the polls took place because of the deterioration in governance and rampant corruption during the previous regime, she said the AIADMK would have won a resounding mandate with or without allies.

“It is their good fortune that they had an alliance with us and 41 seats were allotted to them, and so many of them are now MLAs here. That is how they are now the main Opposition and hold the post of Leader of the Opposition,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

They would not have won a single seat without the AIADMK, she added.

Repeating her charge that “undeserving” people were occupying key offices, she said, “Looking at how obnoxiously they have behaved, I regret that my party faced an election with them as allies. I regret it and I am ashamed.” The DMDK had touched its peak only because of the AIADMK, and henceforth, it would be all downhill for their political fortunes, she declared, amidst thumping of desks by her party members.

Sharp exchange

Trouble started when DMDK whip V.C. Chandhirakumar questioned the hike in bus fares and milk prices soon after the local body polls. This sparked a protest from the treasury benches.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that it was with a heavy heart that she had made some hard decisions when it had no other alternative. The DMDK member's remarks on the local body elections amounted to a challenge to the ruling party. “I am also posing a challenge to you: if you have the guts, contest in the Sankarankoil by-election on your own. We will score a massive victory even though the election will be held after the bus fare hike and milk price revision.”

Responding to this, Mr. Vijayakant said the AIADMK had lost all by-elections held during the DMK regime. “We all know how the DMK won those seats, and we also know how the AIADMK now plans to win the Sankarankoil by-election,” he said, evoking a quick response from the Chief Minister. “Even before the election has been announced, the Leader of the Opposition has conceded defeat.”

“What about the Pennagaram by-poll, where you did not even get back your deposit,” Mr. Vijayakant asked.

Leader of the House and Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam said local body polls had been conducted in a lawful and fair manner, but amidst these exchanges, members of both parties were on their feet, asking each other to sit down. At this point, Mr. Vijayakant was seen raising his hand and saying something inaudible to the AIADMK members. The Speaker told Mr. Vijayakant that it was wrong to point fingers at someone while speaking in the House. As the DMDK members remained on their feet, he ordered the marshal to remove them from the Assembly.

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