Tamil Nadu Governor calls for factual report on trust vote after protests

MK Stalin and DMK MLAs outside the Secretariat on Saturday. Photograph:( PTI )

WION Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Feb 19, 2017, 09.27 AM (IST)

Tamil Nadu Governor Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao has asked for a factual report from assembly secretary AMP Jamaludeen about the incidents that took place during the trust vote won by the EK Palaniswami-led AIADMK government.

The Governor has sought a report on the entire proceedings from the time the House assembled at 11 am on February 18 and till it was adjourned sine die at 3.27 pm, sources told PTI.

The report shall be complete with all documentary and videographic evidence, it has been indicated by the Governor, they said.

The Governor will also release a brochure on the key events in Tamil Nadu beginning with late former chief minister Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation in September last year till he invited Palaniswami to form the government, sources said.

They said Rao was constrained to take up the initiative in view of doubts being expressed about Jayalalithaa's death from some quarters and claims over alleged delay in forming a new government after Panneerselvam resigned on February 5.

Earlier on Sunday, MK Stalin, the leader of Tamil Nadu's opposition party DMK, appealed to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to "nullify" the trust vote.

The party also announced a state-wide hunger strike on February 22, protesting what it alleged was the "murder of democracy".

In a statement, Stalin said his party would stage the hunger strike from 9 am to 5 pm and condemned the adoption of trust vote after eviction of his party members.

Stalin, who along with 85 DMK legislators was evicted from the Assembly after they created a ruckus in the house and manhandled the Speaker P Dhanapal, alleged voting took place by contravening the rules of the state Assembly.

Stalin alleged that the DMK MLAs were evicted despite the fact that they were on a peaceful 'dharna'' (protest) inside the house after their demand for a secret ballot was rejected.

In a representation submitted to Governor Rao, Stalin, also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, urged him to "nullify the entire proceedings" to "protect the spirit of democracy and the Constitution". 

"Finding no other way to register our protest, we resorted to peaceful dharna inside the House," Stalin said.

"The Speaker ordered expulsion of all the members of the DMK without following the procedure.

Assembly guards forcibly evicted us and many of us sustained injuries. Other opposition parties staged a walkout strongly protesting the action of Speaker," he added.

The representation was submitted to the Governor by DMK legislators from the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) RS Bharathi, TKS Elangovan, and Tiruchi N Siva.

The DMK leader claimed that the Speaker "ignored the rule that if the House is adjourned after moving a motion, it lapses". He said it was "a mockery of democracy and a severe blow to the Constitution".

He claimed that in 1988 "when voting on the Confidence Motion was held by the Speaker with only two factions of the ruling party present in the House (it was) later declared as invalid and void by the then Governor".

It appealed to the Governor to take cognizance of the fact that the Confidence Motion moved by Palanisami was adopted in absence of members of all the opposition parties.

It urged him to invoke his constitutional powers to nullify the proceedings to protect the spirit of democracy and Constitution. 

Palaniswami, a loyalist of AIADMK general secretary Sasikala, won the trust vote by a 122-11 margin after the eviction of DMK members and and walkout by its allies, amid stormy scenes during which mikes were uprooted, chairs toppled and sheets of papers torn and hurled around.

Stalin had met the Governor immediately after the eviction of DMK members and urged him to postpone the trust vote. 

(WION with inputs from PTI)