CHENNAI: Seeking to counter the DMK’s charges regarding the trust vote session on February 18, senior leader and AIADMK spokesperson ‘Panruti’ S Ramachandran on Tuesday charged the principal opposition party with trying to topple the government.
He also defended Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal’s decision against the demand for secret ballot for confidence vote, noting that it is against anti-defection law and would not be practical in legislature.
Pointing out the changes in DMK’s stance on trust vote, he said the party had initially said they would be neutral but changed its mind on the eve of the vote.
“[Because] the expected number of MLAs did not come out from the Sasikala faction. So to encourage defections, they announced the decision to oppose confidence motion. The opposition party, which is duty bound to function in a democratic and constructive manner, is making destructive moves to topple the government,” said Ramachandran, at a press conference at the party headquarters here.
Secret ballot would play havoc while enacting important legislations, he said. Also, “How can secret ballot be useful if the people of a particular constituency want to know the stance taken by their MLA on key issues,” he wondered.
He also rejected Opposition Leader and DMK working president MK Stalin’s demand to adjourn the House for a week to allow the MLAs to visit their constituencies to know the pulse of the people. “What would happen if MLAs are kidnapped or prevented from attending Assembly on that day?”
The criticism about the absence of opposition members at the time of vote was also invalid, he said, noting how the late leader J Jayalalithaa attended the Assembly when the rest of the party MLAs were suspended. “The trust vote would become invalid only if there was no quorum (presence of at least 24 MLAs) during voting, and not because DMK members were absent.
The Congress and IUML members were not evicted,” he said. The party would take “appropriate action” against the 12 rebel MLAs, he said.
On party’s stand regarding the Election Commission’s notice to V K Sasikala, questioning the validity of her election as the general secretary, he said the arrangement was an interim one, till a regular election is held.