Chennai: AIADMK Legislature Party leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Edappadi K.Palaniswami, party MLAs and scores of his supporters were arrested for attempting to stage a fast despite police denying permission in the city on Wednesday.
The AIADMK faction led by Palaniswami announced a fast condemning Assembly Speaker M.Appavu for not recognising former Minister and senior leader R.B.Udhayakumar as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly in place of O.Panneerselvam who was expelled from the party.
Palaniswami and 61 of the 66 MLAs supporting him were evicted from the Assembly yesterday after making a vain bid to raise the issue during Question Hour and for staging a dharna in front of the Speaker’s chair after Panneerselvam was allowed to sit next to him in the Opposition bench as the Deputy Leader.
They had boycotted the opening day’s proceedings as the Speaker had not recognised Udhayakumar as the Deputy Leader despite several letters given to him.
Soon after their eviction, the Palaniswami faction announced a protest hunger fast in front of Valluvar Kottam in the city today and submitted a petition to the police seeking permission for the agitation against the Speaker for not altering the seating arrangements in the House and for not recognising Udhayakumar as the Deputy Leader, who was elected
to the post in place of expelled Panneerselvam by the duly elected MLAs.
Since the police denied permission, Palaniswami and his supporting MLAs and scores of AIADMK cadres, clad in black shirts and carrying party flags attempted to stage a fast and assembled at the venue.
They also staged a dharna and shouted slogans against the Speaker’s action, following which police arrested them and took them to the Egmore Rajarathinam Stadium.
Talking to reporters, Palaniswami termed as ‘murder of democracy’, the Speaker not acting on their plea for the last two months seeking to recognise Udhayakumar as the Deputy Leader in the Assembly despite providing Supreme Court upholding it as proof.
He alleged that the Speaker was rendering injustice by supporting Panneerselvam as the ‘B’ team of the ruling DMK at the behest of Chief Minister M.K.Stalin to destroy and divide the AIADMK.
Accusing the Speaker of not maintaining neutrality on the issue of recognising the post of Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Palaniswami claimed that Panneerselvam and the Chief Minister were closetted for about 30 minutes after the Assembly session ended yesterday.
Asserting that their ploy to destroy and divide the AIADMK would not succeed, Palaniswami said the Chief Minister was not able to take on the AIADMK directly and trying to suppress the Opposition.
He said the AIADMK’s agitation will continue till justice was rendered to them. Meanwhile, as the news of the arrest of Palaniswami spread, AIADMK cadres and his supporters across the state staged protests to condemn the police action, staged road roko and took out procession leading to their arrest.
Scores of AIADMK workers were detained across Tamil Nadu for staging protests condemning the arrest of Palaniswami.