With Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan toughening his stance, the Assembly looks headed towards a deadlock. The opposition wants the Speaker to allow an adjournment motion on the Sabarimala issue.
“We will fight to the last,” opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said on Friday. The Speaker on the other hand made it clear that he would not allow the adjournment motion on Sabarimala. “The Assembly rules and procedures do not allow the taking up of an adjournment motion on the same issue twice,” the Speaker said. He also said that the Assembly had comprehensively covered the Sabarimala issue.
The opposition's argument is that the second adjournment motion, for which they had given notice, was different from the first one moved by Congress member V S Sivakumar on November 28. “Both are based on Sabarimala but the issues that both seek to project are different,” Chennithala said. “While Sivakumar's motion was on the prohibitions clamped in Sabarimala, the one sought to be moved by Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan was about the problems faced by pilgrims in Sabarimala,” he added.
Thiruvanchoor's motion was not taken up on Thursday as the Speaker cut short proceedings in the wake of noisy protests. On Friday, the UDF wanted the same adjournment motion taken up, and it was to be moved by Mannarkad MLA and Muslim League member N Shamshudeen. The Speaker refused permission saying he could allow it as the first submission. This was unacceptable to the UDF.
The Speaker's argument is that there was nothing new in the adjournment motion. “All aspects of the Sabarimala issue was covered when Sivakumar's adjournment motion was introduced. Sivakumar who was given 10 minutes spoke for 27. Then the chief minister gave two lengthy speeches on the issue. The opposition leader then demanded that he, too, should be given more time to make his walk-out speech. A walk-out speech should be brief, not more than two or three minutes. He spoke for 52 minutes, and touched upon issues that went beyond prohibitory orders in Sabarimala,” the Speaker said, and added: “It is my sense that the Sabarimala issue had been comprehensively covered in the Assembly. It is time we took up other pressing issues in the Assembly.”
The opposition argue that adjournment motions have been taken up on the same issue many times in the Assembly. They cite the solar scandals and the bar bribery issues as examples, issues on which nine to ten adjournment motions each were allowed to be introduced.
The Speaker conceded this but said that even then the motions were based on new developments. “They were based on some new developments that were reported in the media and not on the same issue,” the Speaker said. He said that there had to be new evidence and new information for an adjournment motion to be taken up on an issue that had already been taken up. “On the Sabarimala issue, there has been no new development and so as per established norms a repetitive adjournment motion cannot be allowed,” he said.