Thiruvananthapuram: With the tenure of the 14th Kerala Legislative Assembly coming to an end on Friday, the battleground will now shift from the legislative complex to the rough and tumble of electoral arena.
It is a coincidence that the 22nd session of the 14th assembly is coming to a close on January 22. After arguing, debating, framing rules, passing resolutions, staging walkouts, holding protests in assembly, the legislators will exchange pleasantries before bidding goodbye to each other.
Many of the MLAs could enter the poll fray soon as the state gears up for the Assembly polls scheduled to be held sometime in April.
A few highlights
The 14th assembly which met for 230 days witnessed a host of dramatic and extraordinary incidents besides a series of protests.
The Governor declining the government’s request for convening a special session on the eve of the scheduled date, was something never seen before in the state. Then there were unexpected episodes like Governor Arif Mohammad Khan reading out his dissent on his address approved by the Cabinet.
Strange instances like finance minister Thomas Isaac facing breach of privilege for making public the contents of CAG report which was to be laid on the table of the House.
At the end of the last session, the opposition moved a resolution demanding the removal of Speaker Sreeramakrishnan.
Extraordinary final year
Even though the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the functioning of the assembly during the last one year, as many as 22 sessions were convened during this period. The number of sessions was more compared to 2019 when 16 sessions were held.
Notably, there were seven one-day sessions in the last one year.
The Left Democratic Front government of Pinarayi Vijayan convened a one-day assembly session just to table the report of Justice Sivarajan Commission which probed the solar case, with the intention of cornering the rival United Democratic Front in the opposition benches.
How the opposition fared
The opposition on the other hand tried all weapons in its armour to target the government. It deployed all tactics to put the government on the mat. Amomgh them the no-confidence motion against the government and the resolution for the removal of Speaker were significant.
The no-confidence motion brought for the first time after 2005, on August 24, 2019 had raised a storm. The resolution moved against P Sreeramakrishnan was the third against a Speaker in the history of Kerala Legislative Assembly.
KM Mani's Kerala Congress left the UDF and sat as a separate block in assembly. Later it returned to the UDF but subsequently faced a split putting the opposition in an awkward position.
The assembly has wound up without settling the complaints and counter-complaints of Kerala Congress rival groups regarding defection. These are pending before the Speaker.
P C George of the Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) came to give company to the lone BJP member O Rajagopal for some time. Later, he distanced from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance cursing its leadership.
A slew of resignations
Ministers EP Jayarajan and AK Saseendran had to resign from Cabinet over allegations of corruption and moral turpitude respectively. Both returned to the ministry after coming clean on the allegations.
Mathew T Thomas resigned paving the way for K Krishnankutty. Allegations related to land encroachment led to the ouster of late Thomas Chandy from the Cabinet.
KM Mani and Oommen Chandy celebrated their golden jubilee in the Assembly during this period.
A host of changes took place in the infrastructure facilities in assembly. All MLAs got laptops on their tables. Sabha TV began live streaming of the Assembly proceedings.
However controversies marred the initiatives taken by Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan for making the E-Niyamasabha concept a reality.
Speaker on target
Sreeramakrishnan's decision to give a green signal for vigilance inquiry against opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala prompted the UDF to target the Speaker and step up its protest against him.
The opposition opened a joint battlefront against both - the chief minister, who is the leader of the house, and the Speaker.
VS set to bow out
Despite age-related health issues V S Achuthanandan had attended the assembly sessions till recently with the help of an aide. With the veteran CPM leader now confined to his house, the MLAs will not be able to get an opportunity to meet him, exchange pleasantries and seek his blessings before leaving the Capital.
7 pass away
Seven legislators passed away during the period of 14th assembly. They are KM Mani, PB Abdul Rasak, CF Thomas, KK Ramachandran Nair, N Vijayan Pillai, Thomas Chandy and KV Vijayadas.
Chavara, Kuttanad, Changanassery and Kongad constituencies are lying vacant following the death of the sitting MLAs.
80 laws framed
The 14th assembly passed 80 laws in its nearly five-year existence. The Farmers Welfare Fund Bill, Industrial Single Window Bill, Paddy land and Wetland Amendment Act, Malayalam Language Bill, Christian Cemetery Bill became topics of wider discussions.
Four resolutions brought under Rule 130 were debated and passed.
The assembly will also go down in history for become a platform for the joint move against the BJP-led government at the centre over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the three farm laws.
172 notices for adjournment motions
In all the opposition gave 172 notices for adjournment motion, thus taking on the government valiantly during this period. Significantly, six of them were taken up for discussion. Two each were moved by MK Muneer and VD Satheeshan respectively with the latter becoming the face of the opposition protest against the government.
The government also agreed to discuss two other adjournment motions moved by Sunny Joseph and KS Sabarinath.