TN Assembly to convene after an eventful interim

R Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on January 05, 2018

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is the new Leader of the TN Assembly

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit

Newly-elected Independent legislator TTV Dhinakaran

All eyes will be on Governor Purohit and debutant Dhinakaran

After an eventful interim, the Tamil Nadu Assembly will convene on Monday, with Governor Banwarilal Purohit addressing the House.

For the AIADMK government, the session will test its ability to manage the sensitive predicament in which it finds itself. The ruling party is beset by internal turmoil, and a strong opposition has been going at it hammer and tongs.

Interestingly, the Governor’s address, normally a customary speech at the start of a session outlining the government’s intentions, is likely to set the tone for the session. For unlike previous occupants of Chennai’s Raj Bhavan, Purohit has been actively reviewing the implementation of development schemes in various districts.

While the ruling party has made light of the Governor’s proactiveness, principal opposition DMK strongly opposed the Governor’s seemingly direct involvement in administrative affairs. The party It sees this as an infringement on the State government’s functioning.

Politically, the Assembly is meeting for the first time after the AIADMK weathered an internal rift caused by Panneerselvam breaking away along with a dozen MLAs last year. In August 2017, he reunited with the majority faction led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

However, this opened up other fault lines within the party, with then Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran and his aunt, VK Sasikala, then General Secretary, being ousted from their positions. At least 18 MLAs have aligned with Dhinakaran openly.

In a big jolt to the AIADMK, Dhinakaran won the by-election to the RK Nagar constituency last month, trouncing the ruling party’s veteran and its Presidium-Chairman E Madhusudhanan by a huge margin. Dhinakaran has showcased his win as a sign of the people’s sentiment against the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Panneerselvam was named Leader of the House, a statement from the Assembly Secretariat said. The Deputy Chief Minister will have a key role in asserting the government’s position.

In the course of the struggle for power between Dhinakaran and Palaniswami-Panneerselvam factions, the 18 AIADMK MLAs loyal to Dhinakaran have been disqualified. They had submitted letters to the Governor expressing their lack of confidence in the Chief Minister. The issue is now in the High Court but the seats will remain vacant for now.

In the 234-member House including the Speaker plus a nominated member, 18 seats are vacant. The AIADMK has 116 members; the DMK 89 legislators; the Congress 8 MLAs; the IUML 1; and the lone independent Dhinakaran.

Published on January 05, 2018
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