Tamil Nadu Assembly: EPS, AIADMK legislators detained for staging hunger strike over party seat feud
The more powerful EPS faction has appointed a new deputy leader and has written several letters requesting that OPS not be seated next to EPS. Speaker M Appavu has stated that he is investigating the matter.
Police detained Opposition Leader Edapaddi K Palaniswami (EPS) and other AIADMK legislators on Wednesday as they attempted to stage a hunger strike outside the Tamil Nadu assembly over the Speaker's refusal to remove rival faction leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) from the AIADMK deputy leader's seat.
The EPS faction, the more powerful of the two, has appointed a new deputy leader and has written several letters requesting that OPS be seated somewhere other than next to EPS. These leaders were ejected from the House on Tuesday for disrupting proceedings over the issue.
Speaker M Appavu has said that he is looking into it. "No one can order me a seat," he said.
EPS and OPS are former chief ministers who jointly led the AIADMK after J Jayalalitha's death until their feud became public earlier this year.
EPS claimed to the media outside the assembly on Tuesday that the Speaker did not follow the majority decision in the AIADMK in electing RB Udayakumar as the party's deputy leader in the Vidhan Sabha, replacing OPS. "O Panneerselvam (OPS) and his supporters were kicked out of the party. The Speaker appears to be acting on the suggestion of the ruling DMK," EPS claimed.
Throughout the chaos on Tuesday, OPS, the leader of a rival AIADMK faction, sat calmly next to EPS.
The Speaker barred any discussion of AIADMK factionalism during Question Hour, which is reserved for people's concerns. He told EPS that he would be able to address the leadership issue later. But the leader of the opposition stood firm.
A visibly irritated Speaker said, "I understand you've all come with the intention of upsetting the proceedings. This is not a good sign."
When the AIADMK members refused to leave, the Speaker issued a warning and ordered the marshals to evict EPS and his MLAs.