TN government denies permission for DMK’s all-party meet to discuss COVID-19

Published : April 15, 2020 16:52 IST

DMK chief M.K. Stalin . Photo: R. Senthil Kumar/PTI

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government in Tamil Nadu, which has refused to convene a meeting of the major opposition political parties on the spread of the coronavirus, has denied permission for an all-party meet sought to be held by the main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

After failing to convince the Chennai Police, the department vested with the authority to grant permission for such meetings, the DMK has decided to hold the meeting via video-conferencing. The all-party meet will be held on April 16.

The DMK had announced on April 12 that an all-party meet would be held on April 15 to discuss the strategies of the Central and State governments regarding the COVID-19 crisis. The DMK, in a release, said it would adhere to the physical distancing norms that were in place and government stipulations while conducting the meeting at its party headquarters, Anna Arivalayam. Despite the assurances, permission was denied, the DMK said.

DMK president M.K. Stalin said he had requested Chief Minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami to organise a meeting of all political parties on March 28. Responding to this demand on April 3, the Chief Minister said an all-party meeting would “politicise” the issue.

The Chief Minister held several discussions with officials, his Cabinet and addressed the press during this period. From the videos and pictures released, it is clear that no physical distancing norms were followed in any of these meetings. For instance, in the video of the Cabinet meeting of April 11, all Ministers were seated exactly as they did at meetings before the pandemic struck, barely a feet away from one another. Apart from the Ministers, key officials, too, were seated in the room.

After the scare of a possible coronavirus affliction at the Directorate of Public Health in Chennai last week, the government started enforcing physical distancing norms in the daily press conferences of officials.

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