Chennai:Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on February 18 won the vote of confidence in the state assembly. Palaniswami, who was sworn in on February 16 as chief minister, won by 122 votes. He belongs to the AIADMK faction led by party general secretary V.K. Sasikala.
Prior to the vote the assembly was in a state of unrest 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 the 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 had 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.
When 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, ruckus broke out in the house again, prompting the speaker to order eviction of the DMK MLAs.
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 the slogan “adjourn the house”.
(with PTI and IANS inputs)