Brawling breaks out in 'Detroit of Asia' state legislature

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 18, 2017 4:33 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Lawmakers broke chairs and smashed microphones in a state legislature in southern India on Saturday as a weeks-long power struggle following the death of a regional politician intensified.

One official was injured in the scuffle among lawmakers inside the Tamil Nadu state assembly and was taken out on a stretcher, TV networks said.

The power struggle in the state of more than 70 million that has attracted foreign automakers and consumer electronics firms, comes amid rising social unrest that has raised doubts over its attractiveness as a place to do business.

The state of Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since its leader, film star turned politician Jayaraman Jalalithaa, died on Dec. 6, 2016 without naming a successor.

Since then her close companion Sasikala has sought to take over the mantle of leadership of the AIADMK party, but earlier this week the federal Supreme Court convicted her of corruption and jailed her for four years.

Hecklers surrounded the speaker for refusing to allow a secret ballot which the opposition group DMK believed would show up deep cracks in the ruling party. A DMK spokesman denied that his party colleagues created the ruckus.

Known as the "Detroit of Asia", Tamil Nadu is India's second-largest manufacturing state. It hosts manufacturers such as <BMW BMWG.DE>, Daimler, Hyundai, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)