Chennai, Aug 4: Opposition DMK today stalled the Tamil Nadu Assembly proceedings following a 'scarecrow' remark by an AIADMK MLA, prompting the Speaker to defer the reply of state Electricity Minister on grants for his department for tomorrow, even as the DMK staged a protest against the remark.
The pandemonium started when AIADMK MLA Muthaiah while speaking on the energy and prohibition demand said "there are 89 scarecrows", drawing an angry response from DMK members, who have an exact number of members in the Assembly.
The DMK MLAs sought expunging of the remarks, even as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa defended her party MLAs, saying the remark was neither "unparliamentary or abusive". However, the MLAs did not budge and demanded that the remarks be expunged.
Noisy scenes followed as they stood up demanding action. Speaker P Dhanpal ruled that the remarks were not unparliamentary or abusive, did not point at anybody and made it clear there would be no review of his verdict.
This further infuriated DMK MLAs, who kept raising slogans against AIADMK MLAs and the Speaker in particular, even as he allowed opposition leader M K Stalin to make some remarks. Some of Stalin's remarks were immediately expunged by the Speaker, who reasoned that the leader's words were against his ruling.
The Speaker repeatedly pleaded with agitating DMK MLAs to cooperate with him to run the House, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. In the melee, some DMK and AIADMK MLAs indulged in heated exchanges, prompting the opposition benches to further increase the decibel level.
The Speaker was regularly seen holding discussions with the leader of the House and state Finance Minister O Paneerselvam and also with DMK Deputy Leader Duraimurugan. Finally the Speaker said DMK MLAs were not cooperating with him in the smooth conduct of the House and that the people were aware of this.
Though he had earlier summoned state Electricity minister P Thangamani to reply on the debate on the grants for his department, it did not take place today due to the ruckus.
The Speaker then stated the business hours had ended and asked the minister to reply tomorrow, even as he said proceedings have come to a close for the day. However, DMK members did not immediately disperse and staged a brief sit in protest.