The Tamil Nadu budget session that began on August 13 is still underway and would go on till September 21. Many key developments have taken place in the first assembly session of the M.K. Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government.
A special resolution urging the union government to repeal the three contentious farm laws was passed last week. It has since been welcomed by the coordination committee of the farmers protesting at the borders of Delhi.
Legislators of the major opposition party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and its ally Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), however, walked out of the House opposing the resolution.
The AIADMK repeatedly boycotting debates has been seen as opposition not playing its part in the decision-making process. The leader of opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami has been absent on a number of days in the current assembly session.
The DMK, particularly M.K. Stalin, who asked his MLAs to not waste time praising him and replied to a question during the question hour, has been appreciated by the political commentators for bringing back democratic ethos to the House.
RESOLUTION ON FARM LAWS WELCOMED
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, on 28 August, moved a resolution in the state legislative assembly opposing the Centre’s three farm laws, making Tamil Nadu the seventh state to oppose the Acts.
As he placed the resolution, AIADMK and BJP MLAs staged a walkout. BJP state unit president K Annamalai said that the party would stage a state-wide protest against the Tamil Nadu government for adopting the resolution.
On behalf of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee, farmers’ union leaders met Stalin on August 31 and welcomed the resolution.
“We thanked him for passing a resolution demanding the repeal of the BJP-led union government’s three anti-farmer laws in the assembly,” said P Shanmugam, state leader of the Vivasayigal Sangam.
“Additionally we asked the DMK to extend support to the All India Bharat bandh on September 25 to intensify the struggle for the repeal of the three anti-farmer farm laws'' he said.
‘AIADMK NOT PLAYING ITS PART’
The AIADMK MLAs have repeatedly boycotted, walked out and protested proposals that they feel are moved with a political vendetta.
AIADMK MLAs were detained by the Chennai police after they had blocked a road outside the assembly on August 31. The MLAs were protesting against a bill introduced by the Tamil Nadu government to merge Dr J Jayalalithaa University, brought in their regime, with Annamalai University.
Their repeated boycotts have made political commentators question their activities. “People have given them the responsibility of the opposition party to AIADMK. But, it doesn’t look like they will come together for people’s issues. That trust is not built from their activities so far,” said senior journalist Kumaresan Asak.
AIADMK has also been criticised for taking dual stands to safeguard individual interests.
“AIADMK did not attend the unveiling of the life-sized portrait of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi at the Tamil Nadu Assembly by the President as part of the centenary celebration of the state legislature. But, when the Karunanidhi memorial was announced they welcomed it wholeheartedly,” said veteran journalist Tharasu Shyam, a senior journalist, in a television debate.
“Earlier they used to function as AIADMK. Now they are working as individuals… They are not functioning as a proper opposition party. They are raising their own issues in the assembly, that is not the place for it,” Shyam added while referring to the raids on AIADMK leaders Velumani and Vijayabhaskar.
The leader of opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami's absence from the assembly for several days has also not gone well for the party.
ALL PRAISE FOR STALIN
On the day that the resolution against the farm laws was adopted, Stalin issued a warning to those who spoke in praise of him in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. He said that his party MLAs should refrain from wasting the time of the Assembly by indulging in his praise.
In Tamil Nadu, where politics has revolved around individual leaders for many decades, this came as a surprise. However, this reiterated the importance of Stalin in DMK.
On August 31 Stalin answered a question in the Question Hour, which became the first reply by a Chief Minister in a question hour in the last 10 years in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
DMK claims that Stalin is set on bringing the proper practice of the House back, hinting that it wasn't followed during AIADMK rule, particularly Jayalalithaa’s period.