Chennai: “What’s in a name?” you may wonder. But it matters a lot in the Tamil Nadu assembly. It can even lead to a walkout, as it happened in the House on Monday over the issue of calling chief minister J Jayalalithaa by her name.
It all started with AIADMK Tiruttani MLA P M Narasiman calling DMK chief M Karunanidhi by his name during the budget debate. Immediately, DMK MLAs were on their feet protesting against calling the DMK chief by his name.
They wanted to know from Speaker P Dhanapal whether it was okay to call a former chief minister by his name. Speaker replied that there was no problem in calling a former chief minister by his name.
However, DMK MLAs wanted to know whether they could also call chief minister J Jayalalithaa by her name. Dhanapal said the chief minister could not be called by her name. “This is my order,” he said. The speaker’s reply provoked DMK MLAs who walked out of the assembly in protest.
Later, speaking to reporters outside the assembly, DMK treasurer and leader of the opposition M K Stalin said, “Nowhere in assembly code sections it says that MLAs should not be called by name. When that it is the law, why cannot we call Jayalalithaa by her name?”
“Speaker’s order is against the law. We walked out of the assembly to condemn this,” he added.