Chennai: No disruptions, no screaming and no expulsions. The atmosphere in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday when Governor K. Rosaiah opened the first session of the newly elected House was in complete contrast to earlier sessions of previous Assemblies.
The ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK members heard the address in rapt attention without any noise, ushering in a new era of amity between the treasury and opposition benches after decades.
Ever since the elections were over, the ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK have shown signs of maturity in dealing with each other — be it MK Stalin attending the swearing-in of Ms Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister thanking him for his attendance at the event and even expressing regret for not allotting him a seat in the front rows and the Opposition leader assuring on the floor of the House that the DMK will just function as an “opposition party, not as an enemy party”.
Mr Stalin, the Opposition Leader, has been very careful in his criticism against the government since it returned to power and also offers suggestions to the ruling party in matters of importance. And the DMK did not attack the Chief Minister’s visit to New Delhi but made its stand know only after she returned to Chennai after a daylong visit.
As the newfound bonhomie between the arch-rivals becomes the talk of the town, the way Thursday’s Assembly session sailed through without any disruption has raised hopes among the public that the hitherto unseen cooperation between the ruling and the Opposition parties could soon become a reality in Tamil Nadu.
Ruling party-Opposition amity is not a rarity in Indian politics and in fact the warmth between top brass of both sides would be visible at public events in national politics.
After having lost a bitter battle for the South Block, the seat of the Union government, Congress’ Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul did attend the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and even dined with him at the high table after the glittering ceremony on May 26, 2014.
In a state where the Chief Minister and leader of the main rival party would not even see eye-to-eye or come face-to-face, exchange of pleasantries and the Chief Minister reassuring the Opposition Leader that she looks forward to working with his party in the interest of the state was a refreshing change and one that people were yearning for.
The 15th Assembly has the strongest opposition that the House has seen since its inception with 89 members and this could have weighed high on the minds of both parties in ushering a new era of cooperative politics.
Political analysts and observers feel it is too early to come to a conclusion on the amity between the two sides since the Assembly has not begun debating issues of interest of the state.
Political analyst Sumanth C. Raman says the bonhomie between the ruling and Opposition parties is a good sign and they should maintain this cordial atmosphere for the next five years in the interest of the state.
DMK’s T.K.S. Elangovan says the party has always been active and had functioned as a constructive Opposition and asked the ruling party to stop indulging in “mudslinging” the DMK and its leaders on the floor of the Assembly.
“We have always been constructive in nature and we will continue to be so. Our leader M.K. Stalin had told the House that the DMK would function as an Opposition party, not as an enemy party. We hope the government of the day would allow us to raise our issues,” he said.
However, the AIADMK put the ball in the court of the DMK for maintaining the relationship. “On the very first of the session, Amma made it clear that ruling party and Opposition are like two sides of the same coin and they should work for the betterment of the state. We hope the DMK would be constructive and disruptive. If they cooperate, then we will only be happy since it will be in the interest of the people,” party spokeswoman C.R. Saraswathi said.