Trust vote stalled amid bedlam; proceedings disrupted

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Assembly on Saturday witnessed bedlam when DMK members gheraoed Speaker P Dhanapal seeking secret ballot for the trust vote, who subsequently left the House with marshals escorting him, stalling the proceedings.

Amid scenes of ruckus, they also wanted adjournment of the House to facilitate the legislators to go back to their constituencies and seek the opinion of people before they could cast their vote.

As Dhanapal was pushed and shoved in the commotion, Assembly marshals stepped in and safely escorted him out with no clarity on whether the House has been adjourned or not.

For a very brief distance, in order to help the Speaker come down from his elevated podium, he was physically carried by the Assembly watch and ward staff.

The House met again shortly thereafter, similar scenes were witnessed with opposition DMK members pressing for secret ballot.

The Speaker rejected their demand, saying there was no provision for secret ballot and asked the Chief Minister to move the confidence motion which he duly did.

At this again ruckus broke out in the House, prompting the Speaker to order eviction of DMK MLAs.

But as the DMK MLAs resisted the attempts by the House marshals to remove them, the Speaker left the House saying the proceedings would resume at 3 PM.

Earlier, as the House met to facilitate the vote of confidence by Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami, opposition benches and the O Panneerselvam camp demanded a secret ballot.

Besides Panneerselvam, his supporters S Semmalai and former minister K Pandiarajan, Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin, Congress Legislature Party leader K R Ramasamy, IUML member Abubacker and Mylapore member R Nataraj pressed for voting by secret ballot.

They also said the legislators should be allowed to visit their constituencies and seek the opinion of the people before casting their vote.

After listening to the views of all members, Dhanapal said MLAs could cast their vote in a free and fair manner.

He assured security to all the members.

However, DMK members continued to voice their demand and gathered around the Speaker's podium, repeatedly raising slogan "adjourn the House".(PTI)