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Jaya lone AIADMK attendee in House

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

Chennai, May 27 : The historic Fort St George, housing the Tamil Nadu Assembly, virtually became a high-security fortress today as former Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa came to the House to represent her party in the wake of suspension of all other AIADMK MLAs.

After a gap of 17 years, she sat in the opposition benches, diagonally opposite her bete noire and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

The AIADMK supremo, who participated in the proceedings for nearly two hours, stayed cool and took on the treasury benches. She raised questions on implementation of DMK's poll promises like cooperative loan waived and distribution of two acre of land to landless farmers. As the former Chief Minister walked up to her seat, there was a deafening silence in the House with the members of the ruling DMK and its allies gazing fixedly at her.

She sat all alone in the AIADMK benches with a backdrop of empty seats, as the Business Advisory Committee (BAC), which met at 0900 hrs before commencement of the session, to consider revoking the suspension of 60 AIADMK members, maintained status quo.

When Mr Karunanidhi entered the House, all the members, except Ms Jayalalithaa, stood up and greeted him. The two leaders did not exchange pleasantries and avoided eye contact.

Stating that the Governor's address was prepared on the basis of false reports and that members of the ruling party and allies were giving false information to the House, she requested Speaker R Aavudaiappan to allot her 90 minutes to speak.

She said the Opposition Leader's chance to speak on the debate should be given to her, if he did not come to the House on May 30.

When the Speaker asked her to take 30 minutes, she began her speech, contradicting information given in the Governor's address.

She did not yield when some Ministers, including Ponmudi and K K S S Ramachandran, attempted to interrupt her to give clarifications.

Objecting to interruption by Peter Alphonse and C Gnanasekaran (Cong), she asked the Chair to allow her to complete her speech.

After putting forth her views, Ms Jayalalithaa left the House immediately.

The former Chief Minister, soon after the poll, said she would keep away from the House due to the 'assault' on her by some of the 'present Ministers' in 1989, when she was Leader of the Opposition.

After the suspension of all other AIADMK MLAs yesterday in the wake of unruly scenes in the House, she changed her mind and decided to attend the House to put forth her party's views.

Meanwhile, a heavy security blanket was thrown in and around Fort St George in view of Ms Jayalalithaa's visit to the Assembly. As a large number of AIADMK cadre and functionaries had thronged the place in solidarity with their leader, a heavy posse of security forces was deployed along stretch of two km right from War Memorial to Fort St George.

Entry was restricted and no visitor was allowed to watch the Assembly proceedings today.

The suspended AIADMK MLAs waited anxiously outside the Assembly complex as Ms Jayalalithaa attended the proceedings.

Later, talking to reporters in the Assembly lobby, Ms Jayalalithaa said the continuance of her attendance in the House would be based on the BAC's decision on revoking the suspension of AIADMK MLAs.

'There's no point in coming if they don't allow me to speak. I don't know whether they will give me a chance,' she said.

The AIADMK leader said she wanted to utilise the chance given to the Leader of the Opposition to speak in the debate but was denied.

'The AIADMK is the main opposition but they have expelled 60 MLAs of the party. As the sole representative of the AIADMK and former Chief Minister, I appealed that adequate time be alloted to the party but was denied. This is murder of democracy,' she charged.

Miss Jayalalitha said during her rule, the then Deputy Leader of the Opposition Duraimurugan and DMK member Arcot N Veerasamy were allowed to speak instead of the then Leader of the Opposition K Anbazhagan.

The ruling party was not able to answer several questions raised by her on waiver of cooperative loans and distribution of two acre of land to landless farmers, she said.

When she pointed out that the Anti-Conversion Act was no more in force in the state following promulgation of an Ordinance and cited a Supreme Court ruling, the Chief Minister made fun of the SC verdict, she charged and asked whether they could do it outside the House.


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