Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) efforts to dislodge the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) from power in Tamil Nadu following the demise of J. Jayalalithaa has not succeeded so far, but the M. K. Stalin-led party has managed to finally oust AIADMK from the spacious office in Parliament House that the party was occupying for the past five years.
The AIADMK Parliamentary Party has finally shifted out to an office that was being occupied by JD-U till recently, paving the way for DMK to move into the office vacated by its arch rival.
After the DMK emerged as one of the largest parties in the Lok Sabha last year, the party demanded a spacious office in Parliament House befitting its strength. As many as 24 MPs from Tamil Nadu, including four from alliance parties, were elected to the 17th Lok Sabha on DMK symbol, along with 14 from alliance partners like the Congress. In addition, the DMK also has five members in the Rajya Sabha. At the same time, the AIADMK’s strength in Lok Sabha has declined dramatically to just 1 from the earlier 37.
Considering the DMK’s plea, the Lok Sabha Speaker and officials decided to allot to the party the space that was housing the AIADMK’s Parliamentary Party’s office in room 46-I. The AIADMK office was housed in the spacious room from 2015 on the basis of its strength of 37 MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha and double-digit strength in the Rajya Sabha at that time.
The office was allotted to DMK last November after fortunes of the arch rivals reversed in the Lok Sabha election, but AIADMK was not willing to vacate the ground floor office that is located close to the Central Hall. The DMK was left waiting after the AIADMK refused to accept alternate space allocated on the upper floors.
It was an interesting coincidence that the space used by AIADMK was allotted to DMK and a prime office used by the TDP was allocated to its arch rival YSR Congress. While TDP has only 3 Lok Sabha MPs and two Rajya Sabha members now, YSR has won 22 seats in Lok Sabha and is all set to increase its tally in the Rajya Sabha from the current strength of two.
After several consultations, the AIADMK finally agreed to accept Room No.45-II that use to house the JD-U earlier. This room is also on the ground floor and is of decent size. So the AIADMK Parliamentary Party office shifted last week, vacating Room No.46-I.
The DMK has been now given possession of the space allotted to them after the AIADMK vacated it, officials at Parliament House confirmed. The DMK Parliamentary Party office is likely to be operational in a month after necessary alterations demanded by the party are done.
Parties with stronger representation in Parliament are allocated prime space on the ground floor in the Parliament House with parties like the BJP and Congress. The Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman along with senior Cabinet Ministers also work out of the ground floor. In line with their strength, smaller parties are allocated space at locations like the second floor that are not preferred.
With more and more demand for office space within the Parliament House, the authorities concerned have been feeling the pressure and the heritage building is shouldering a heavy load. Various offices frequently come with requests for accommodating more staff and ask for amenities like ACs, photocopy machines, TV sets, desktop PCs and printers.
Increasing security concerns demands for more personnel deployment. Increasing demand for parking space is also difficult to meet due to space constraints. With concerns like these, the Narendra Modi government is focussing on creating more office space while building a new complex for Parliament. The heritage building that houses the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha now will remain intact while the new complex planned by the government will take away all the increasing workload with modern infrastructure, officials said.