Confidence vote stalled after ruckus by opposition

Chennai, Feb 18: Pandemonium broke out in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today ahead of the crucial vote of confidence by the Edapady Palaniswami government with the opposition members stalling the proceedings. 

With the matter coming to a head, Speaker P Dhanapal came out of the assembly escorted by marshals shortly after the House assembled to facilitate the floor test. 

The proceedings were stalled amid the pandemonium, where some opposition members demanded secret voting.

Palaniswami, who was sworn in as Chief Minister two days ago, has opted to prove his majority today itself though he was given 15 days time by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao. 

Earlier in the day, the rebel O Panneerselvam camp got a boost when Coimbatore North MLA Arun Kumar announced his decision to abstain from voting after yesterday's decision by Mylapore MLA and former DGP R Natraj to vote against the 

government.

With the decision of the two, the Palaniswami camp is left with 122 MLAs in the 234-member House with one vacancy. Ailing DMK supremo M Karunanidhi was not present in the House.

In another development, the Panneerselvam camp appointed Semmalai as the party whip in the assembly and sent a letter 

to the Speaker to this effect.