AIADMK holds hunger strike over hooch tragedy, DMDK lends support

The fast is to condemn 'denial of permission' to raise the issue in the state Assembly, according to the main opposition party

Edappadi K Palaniswami during a protest rally in Kallakurichi on 24 June (photo: PTI)
Edappadi K Palaniswami during a protest rally in Kallakurichi on 24 June (photo: PTI)


All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLAs and party workers led by party general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami held a hunger strike in Chennai on Thursday, 27 June, to press for a CBI probe into the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy.

DMDK chief Premalatha Vijayakanth visited the venue and lent her party's support to the protest.

Clad in black shirts, the AIADMK legislators, who have been suspended from the ongoing Assembly session for disrupting proceedings, began their fast here by 9 am at the Rajarathinam stadium.

The fast is also to condemn 'denial of permission' to raise the issue in the state Assembly, according to the main opposition party.

Palaniswami, in a post on X, demanded chief minister M K Stalin's resignation and reiterated that the hooch deaths be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

While the deaths have 'crossed 60,' why has not Stalin visited Kallakurichi so far, he asked. He also slammed the chief minister's 'reluctance' to have a honest discussion over the issue in the Assembly.

Premalatha Vijayakanth, speaking to reporters at the venue of the fast, backed AIADMK's demand for CBI probe and also demanded that Minister for Prohibition and Excise, S Muthusamy resign from his post to do justice.

She alleged police have not permitted the AIADMK leaders to 'make speeches,' (using public address system) and decried 'repression.'

Facts related to the hooch tragedy will emerge only if the CBI probed the matter and both the AIADMK and her party the DMDK are firm on this stand.

She alleged that, "ruling party persons abetted the brewing of illicit arrack." Denouncing suspension of AIADMK MLAs, she demanded that the government specify the norms violated by the opposition party members.

"Where could the Kallakurichi tragedy could be discussed other than the Assembly," she asked.

The leader of opposition 'Annan' (elder brother) Edappadi Palaniswami and AIADMK members were not allowed to take up the matter and she asked if this was fair. "The Assembly is for discussing only people's problems. The House is run on tax payers money."

Referring to leader of opposition Rahul Gandhi's comment in Lok Sabha that he is confident that "you (Speaker) will allow us to represent our voice, allow us to speak, to represent voice of people of India," and support of DMK MPs for that, she asked how could there exist one kind of rule for the Parliament and another for the state Assembly.

She alleged the DMK regime did not allow opposition to raise issues in state Assembly but it is for opposition's voice to be heard in Parliament.

"History will say that it is the DMK (when it was in opposition) which has staged more walkouts and did not allow the House proceedings to go on," she claimed.

She rejected chief minister Stalin's allegation that the AIADMK disrupted proceedings for the sake of publicity.

During the previous AIADMK regime, the way Stalin showed a 'torn shirt' (in 2017, when the Palaniswami-led regime won vote of confidence amid bedlam) was the height of publicity. The AIADMK does not need any new publicity, a more than 50-year old party that has ruled the state for decades.

Republican Party of India leader C K Tamilarasan also visited the venue of hungerstrike and extended support.

Palaniswami had said on Wednesday that 'denying a honest debate' over the hooch tragedy, that has reportedly left over 60 dead, and evicting and suspending AIADMK MLAs was against democracy.

The former chief minister condemned what he described as 'diversionary politics' of the DMK government rather than taking action over hooch deaths. The hunger strike is likely to end by 5 pm on Thursday.

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