Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced that the government would live-telecast Assembly proceedings following a public outcry demanding the same. In a reply to Opposition leader Edappadi K Palaniswami during the Assembly debate on the demand for grants for a couple of government departments, Stalin said the proceedings will be live-telecast once the session commences at the Fort St George Campus.
Due to Covid-19, the assembly proceedings are currently taking place at the Kalaivanar Arangam on Wallajah Salai as Fort St George lacked space to maintain physical distancing among legislators. The ongoing budget session of the Tamil Nadu assembly is set to be completed in the second week of September.
Stalin’s announcement in the Assembly was one of the poll promises he made ahead of the 2021 assembly elections. “Live-telecasting Assembly sessions has been our demand for the last 10 years but the previous government failed to implement it. We had included the same as a promise in our election manifesto. Since the Assembly proceedings are taking place in Kalaivanar Arangam, we are not able to implement it, but definitely, once when the session commences at Fort St.George, we will make arrangements to live-telecast the session,” Stalin said.
Tamil Nadu is the only state in south India, which did not telecast the live proceedings from the assembly. As the proceedings of the house will be presented live, voters of the state will be empowered to monitor the debates, which will further enhance the quality of discussion in the assembly, and also push the MLAs to participate enthusiastically.
Opposition parties in the state have hailed the decision and also made an accusation that the regional political parties - AIADMK & DMK have been hesitant to broadcast the live sessions, as they used to control the political narrative of the developments of the house.
Speaking to the media about this, Congress MLA Peter Alphonse highlighted that the premise behind such a request is that government is based on transparency, and also that the legislative Assembly is the conduit through which power travels, and hence the proceedings and the decisions made for people should be made publicly available. A telecast, according to the Congress leader, will improve the level of debate, increase member involvement, and so increase the Assembly's productivity.