TN Govt heaves a sigh of relief as House session gets over
The five-day long session of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly concluded on Friday with Chief Minister Edappady Palaniswamy replying to the debate on the address to the House by Governor Banwarilal Purohit delivered on Monday.
Much to the relief of the government, the eight-day long agitation launched by the employees of the state transport corporation was called off late Thursday night following the Madras High Court’s decision to appoint E Padmanabhan , a former judge, as an arbitrator to adjudicate the dispute between the Government and the employees over the quantum of wage revision. The agitation by the employees has brought the State to a standstill.
The day also saw the passing of two dozen bills and supplementaries which saw the participation of the principal opposition party DMK. Though a senior MLA of the AIADMK said that the session was a smooth affair, he sounded cynical when asked about the future of the Palaniswamy government. “It all depends on the verdicts to be delivered by the Madras High Court,” said the senior AIADK leader who did not want his name to be quoted.
The Madras High Court is hearing a batch of petitions filed by the 18 AIADMK MLAs who were disqualified by the Speaker P Dhanapal under the anti-defection laws. The disqualified legislators approached the High Court with a plea to quash the Speaker’s order. The hearing of the case is in final stages and the Court may pronounce its verdict before the budget session of the Assembly, which is expected in the month of March.
The Palaniswamy Government is in a precarious condition as it has the support of only 111 members in a House which has an effective strength of 234 members. This five day session of the House saw two of the three members who were elected under the Two Leaves symbol of the AIADMK joining the DMK in walking out of the House during the Governor’s address to the assembly. This has brought down the strength of the AIADMK to 109 whereas it requires 118 MLAs for a simple majority.
The Tamil Nadu Government was in for another embarrassment by Friday when it was known that the Income Tax department had told the Madras High Court that its raid in Veda Nilayam, late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s house, unearthed a letter sent by the former director general of police Asok Kumar to the then Chief Minister with a secret letter dated August 11, 2016 by the Principal Director Tax (Investigation) stating that they had seized documents which revealed that ministers and top police officials were under the payroll of a gutka manufacturer to facilitate the sale of banned Gutkha in Tamil Nadu.
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