The Dravidian fight in Parliament


Listening to Parliament proceedings could give a non-Tamil some idea about how polarised is politics in Tamil Nadu.

For the second time in a week, DMK MP Kanimozhi ran into a curious protest by rivals from AIADMK in Rajya Sabha though she did not “criticise” the state government.

As soon as she was on her feet in Zero Hour to demand a ban on exploration of coal-bed methane, as it was “causing” environment problems, AIADMK MPs led by its floor leader A Navneethkrishnan were all ears.

But even before she could reach one minute of her speech, the rival MPs were on feet protesting against her speech to amusement of Deputy Chairman P J Kurien and other members.

Kanimozhi was talking about the protest against the exploration in Thanjavur when Navneethkrishnan, joined by his party colleagues, vociferously opposed her speech, saying it was during UPA government’s time the permission for exploration was given. Another AIADMK member Vijila Sathyananth said her party had opposed it earlier.

As the AIADMK members continued to protest, Kanimozhi said, “What is this? Did I say anything against them?” while Kurien was heard saying amid the din, “I am not able to understand why all of you are shouting. What do I do?  Has she said anything against you?”

“Why do you obstruct her? You have majority, so you don’t try to interrupt. Don’t do this. I don’t agree,” Kurien added.

Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal then came to the support of Kanimozhi saying no one can obstruct a MP from speaking. Senior MPs like Sharad Pawar and Derek O’Brien were also seen supporting Kanimozhi.

Kurien then asked the AIADMK members to allow Kanimozhi to speak and if she makes any reference to the AIADMK government in the state, he would allow Navneethkrishnan to reply.

The DMK MP then continued her speech but trouble again began when Kurien went ahead calling another MP for Zero Hour intervention. Navneethkrishnan then stood up to speak but Kurien disallowed saying Kanimozhi has not “said a word against your government”. AIADMK MPs then walked out.

Last week also, Kanimozhi faced trouble from AIADMK MPs when she tried to raise the attack on ‘Puthu Thalamurai’ TV channel without any reference to the state government. Jayalalithaa leads AIADMK while DMK is led by archrival M Karunanidhi.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 18, 2015)


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