Pandemonium broke out in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today ahead of the crucial vote of confidence by the Edapady Palanisamy government, with media reporting that Opposition members including DMK, Congress MLAs and AIADMK MLAs from the O Panneerselvam camp stalled the proceedings. The Opposition members led by DMK working president MK Stalin were demanded secret ballot in the floor test. The proceedings were initially stalled till 1 pm amid the pandemonium. Speaker P Dhanapal left the assembly escorted by marshals.
Microphones were broken, chairs thrown and papers torn in the assembly. The Speaker said that he was attacked. Some commentators said scenes such as these have not been witnessed in the Tamil Nadu assembly for decades. The media has not been allowed inside the assembly and there were also reports that audio feed provided to media by the assembly was turned off.
The assembly reconvened at 1 pm but Opposition protests continued. ANI News reported that the Speaker ordered the eviction of DMK MLAs from the assembly. It is unclear whether assembly officials have succeeded in evicting them.
ANI News has reported that the assembly has been adjourned for the second time on Saturday.
Palanisamy, who was sworn in as Chief Minister two days ago, has opted to prove his majority on Saturday itself though he was given 15 days time by Governor C Vidyasagar Rao.
Earlier in the day, the rebel O Panneerselvam camp got a boost when Coimbatore North MLA Arun Kumar announced his decision to abstain from voting, after yesterday's decision by Mylapore MLA and former DGP R Natraj to vote against the government. With the decision of the two, the Palanisamy camp is left with 122 MLAs in the 234-member House, with one vacancy.
Ailing DMK supremo M Karunanidhi was not present in the House.
In another development, the Panneerselvam camp appointed Semmalai as the party whip in the assembly and sent a letter to the Speaker to this effect.
With inputs from NH National Bureau.