Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala assembly on Monday rejected the adjournment motion moved by the UDF, alleging police inaction and failure in connection with the attack on CPM's state headquarters AKG Centre as well as several Congress offices across the state, pursuant to which the opposition staged a walkout from the House.
Opposition leader V D Satheesan contended that the issues raised by the UDF, regarding lack of police action in apprehending the culprits behind the attacks on offices of both parties, have not been answered or addressed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and therefore, they are staging a walkout in protest.
The step was taken by the opposition after Speaker M B Rajesh declared that the adjournment motion, moved by Congress MLA P C Vishnunadh, was rejected.
It was rejected by a show of hands after the CM's response to the opposition's allegations concluded.
Vijayan commenced his response with the question -- why the opposition and specifically the Congress was not willing to condemn the attack on AKG Centre or any other such acts of violence, whosoever was behind it?
The same was instantly countered by Satheesan who said that the very next morning after the AKG Centre was attacked, when mediapersons contacted him, the first statement he gave was that he strongly condemned what happened.
Other senior Congress leaders too had condemned the incident, he added.
Vijayan, however, said that he was referring to Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Sudhakaran's statements, to which veteran Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala responded that the KPCC chief was commenting on the accusations levelled against the party by LDF convener E P Jayarajan.
Vijayan said, “The stand taken by the president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) K Sudhakaran is the position of the KPCC. He is a man who had attempted to murder E P Jayarajan (LDF convenor). Sudhakaran is now trying to portray Jayarajan as the brain behind the AKG Centre incident. He has not changed even when holding a responsible position. Jayarajan stays at an apartment in front of AKG Centre and reached the spot soon after the blast. CPM does not have a policy of attacking the offices of any political party,” said the Chief Minister.
'AKG Centre attack was planned'
The CM, in his response also said that the attack on the CPM state headquarters was a planned one and those behind it would have hidden the culprits and hence, the delay in catching them.
“Video images show a vehicle at the scene. The person on the vehicle seems to have confirmed that the police were not present before hurling the bomb,” he said, adding, “We are examining the CCTV visuals thoroughly. There is no lethargy on the part of the police.”
However, the culprits would be caught eventually and there has been no laxity on the part of the police in its investigation and examination of CCTV footage of the area, he contended.
He also said that the government will examine whether there was any failure or laxity on the part of the police personnel stationed outside AKG Centre.
The CM's statements came in response to the opposition queries as to why the culprits behind the AKG Centre were not caught yet, why the police on duty did not chase the attacker, why no wireless message was sent across the city to nab the perpetrator of the attack which took place in the heart of the city.
Satheesan said after the vandalism of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad office, a police jeep was present outside the AKG Centre gate -- where the explosive was thrown -- at all times till June 29, but was absent on the night of June 30 when the attack occurred.
"Why was this," he questioned. Other opposition MLAs, who too spoke during the discussion, said that Congress was being unnecessarily blamed for the attack and it was a failure on the part of the police which has been "politicised" or turned into a "political tool" in the hands of the ruling dispensation in the state.
LDF MLA M M Mani, supporting the CM, the state government and the police action, contended that KPCC chief's alleged comments in the past threatening to attack the AKG Centre is a valid enough reason to suspect that Congress was behind the attack.
He also alleged that there has been an increase in violent activities by Congress ever since Sudhakaran was at the helm of KPCC.
The same was objected to by the opposition which alleged that since CPM did not raise the AKG Centre attack in the House, no one can be faulted for thinking that the Left party was behind it.
This was also evident from the accusations being only against Congress right from the start and not at the BJP, RSS or SDPI, the opposition alleged and claimed that the Left front only sees Congress and UDF as its enemies and no other party.
'Ploy to divert attention'
The opposition also alleged that the attack on AKG Centre was a ploy to divert attention from the allegations against the state government and the CM.
Several LDF MLAs spoke, rejecting the allegations and accused the Congress of having a violent political past and of not having changed its methodology even now.
Vijayan also said that accusing CPM of carrying out the attack on its state headquarters was "uncalled for".
He also dismissed the news reports that SDPI members visited the AKG Centre, as false.
“When these people reached the place, the staff at AKG Centre realized that they belonged to SDPI and refused to entertain their request for a meeting with CPM leaders,” he said. “However, the SDPI members took some photos in front of AKG Centre and posted those images on social media,” said Vijayan.
“AKG Centre is open for all people, but not these types,” he added.
He said that Congress and UDF should desist from allegedly creating a riot-like environment in the state.
Satheesan, during the discussions, on the other hand blamed the CPM for projecting Kerala as a state affected by riots and claimed that 42 Congress offices were damaged or destroyed as a result of the allegedly incorrect statements being made by Left leaders against the opposition.
Earlier in the day, Vijayan had agreed to discuss the adjournment motion saying it needs to be debated in the House as the attack on AKG Centre was viewed with pain by lakhs of people.
An unidentified person had allegedly hurled an explosive substance at the state headquarters of the ruling CPM on June 30 night. However, police are yet to identify the perpetrator.
While the CPM blamed the Congress, the latter rejected the allegation. The opposition party also alleged that their party offices were targeted by the Left cadres across the state including in the districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha, Thrissur.
(With inputs from PTI)