CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, which has been summoned to meet at 10 am on Monday, October 17, by Governor R N Ravi, could witness some unsavory scenes as the Speaker M Appavu has not yet taken a decision on the infighting in the AIADMK, the prime opposition party in the House, particularly on the seating arrangement for the leaders who are at loggerheads.
Appavu told the media at the Secretariat on Friday that since O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami were former Chief Ministers they would be treated with dignity in the Assembly and provided seats according to the traditions of the Legislature, triggering a speculation that they would remain where they had been earlier.
As the Leader of the Opposition Palaniswami had been given a seat adjacent to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Panneerselvam. Now that the AIADMK whip had informed the Speaker that Panneerselvam had been removed from the post of Deputy Leader of the Opposition and also from the primary membership of the party, the faction would expect him to be seated not along with their leader.
The AIADMK faction would like the Assembly to treat Panneerselvam as an unattached member and give a seat accordingly. But since the Speaker had not taken a decision on the letter given by the AIADMK whip and had also acknowledged the receipt of a letter given by Panneerselvam that he continued to be the coordinator of the AIADMK, there is less likelihood of any change in the seating arrangement as of now.
It is learnt that unless a final verdict on the split in the AIADMK came from the Supreme Court proclaiming the Palaniswami faction as the real party, the Speaker would not like to take any action on the dispute. Also Panneerselvam by virtue of being a former Chief Minister would have to be given a seat in the front row and that would mean that the present arrangement continued.
But the Palaniswami faction that might consider it infra dig for their leader to be treated on par with the rival leader might cite their strength in the House and demand that Panneerselvam’s seat should be changed. What, however, had to be seen is how the dominant AIADMK faction would express its protest.
Will the MLAs, owing allegiance to Palaniswami, raise the issue on the floor of the House or would boycott the session in protest against the Speaker not taking cognizance of their whip’s letter is not known.
As far as the proceedings in the House go, though the agenda for the session would be decided by the official business advisory committee, which would meet on October 17, the government is expected to present three reports for ratification.
While the Governor had approved the recommendations of the Justice (Retired) K Chandru committee and issued an ordinance prohibiting online gambling and regulating online games in the State though a Government Order (GO) on October 3, the Assembly might go into the recommendations of the committee and pass a legislation.
The two other reports that could cause a storm in the House are those by the Justice (Retired) A Arumughasamy that went into the circumstances leading to the hospitalization and death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and the one by Justice (Retired) Aruna Jagadeesan committee that probed the police firing at a crowd protesting against the Sterlite copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi.
Since both the incidents took place during the AIADMK regime, the opposition benches might object to some observations and recommendations made by the two committees....