Chennai: The Palaniswami government today won the confidence vote in the Tamil Nadu Assembly by a comfortable 122-11 margin after high drama and bedlam in the House.
The vote was preceded by eviction of principal opposition DMK and walkout by its allies, which have 98 legislators in the 234-member House, in protest.
Former Chief Minister Panneerselvam could muster only 11 votes, ending the prolonged stalemate triggered by his rebellion and by conviction of AIADMK chief V K Sasikala after being elected the Legislature Party leader.
Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, while appointing E Palaniswami as the chief minister after he was propped by Sasikala, had given him 15 days time to prove his majority.
The vote was taken after two adjournments due to pandemonium and charges of attacks by DMK members.
Speaker P Dhanapal and Leader of Opposition M K Stalin said their shirts were torn in the fracas in the House.
Stalin immediately dashed off to the Raj Bhavan to meet
the Governor and complain about the incidents.
Tight security was in place outside the Assembly to prevent any untoward incident in the wake of the do or die battle for the pro-Sasikala government.
When the Assembly met for the day, Speaker P Dhanapal assured the members that they would be provided proper security.
The Assembly witnessed unruly scenes with the opposition members insisting on a secret vote and wanting MLAs to be allowed to visit their constituencies and meet the people before they cast their vote.
This was, however, rejected by the Speaker who went on with the Floor Test when the House reassembled at 3 pm.
Claiming majority support, Panneerselvam, who had claimed he was forced to resign as chief minister, had met the Governor twice earlier during the month.
Just hours ahead of the voting, the Palaniswami camp received a jolt when Coimbatore North MLA Arun Kumar left saying he would abstain from voting.
Yesterday, MLA from Mylpore constituency here, R Nataraj had said he would vote against the chief minister’s motion of confidence.
Ailing DMK supremo M Karunanidhi did not attend the proceedings.
The floor test in the Assembly was the first such exercise in the state in about 30 years.
Panneerselvam had vowed to continue his fight against Sasikala and her family “till the time Amma (Jayalalithaa) regime is restored.”
The combined strength of AIADMK in the Assembly is 134.
As soon as the House proceedings resumed at 3 pm, the
Speaker allowed Panneerselvam, Congress Legislature Party Leader K R Ramasamy and IUML member Abubacker to make some brief remarks before going for the voting, which was taken up as division.
Soon after his announcement, the quorum bell rang thrice and all the entry points to the House were closed.
The Speaker announced that the state government resolution moved by Palaniswami will be taken up in division in every block where those supporting and opposing it, besides staying neutral, should stand up for their respective choices.
Subsequently, the division was held for four blocks as the rest two remained empty following DMK’s eviction.
After voting, the Speaker announced that the Palaniswami Ministry received 122 in support and 11 against, drawing thunderous applause from the ruling benches with some MLAs also haling late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Soon after the Speaker declared the result, Panneerselvam and his supporters left the House.
Dhanapal said today’s vote of confidence allowed the continuance of the Jayalalithaa government.