UDF disrupts Assembly business, to take fight against fuel cess to the street

UDF protest
VD Satheesan speaks to media after UDF MLAs march to Assembly to protest against government's refusal to roll back the tax proposals and social security cess on fuel and liquor. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri/Manorama

The Opposition UDF disrupted Assembly proceedings on Thursday over what it called the LDF government's "tax loot" and announced that their fight against the government would be taken to the streets.

As a mark of protest against the fuel price hike, the UDF members had walked to the Assembly on Thursday. LDF convener E P Jayarajan jeered at this symbolic protest saying it was a "leisurely morning walk".

Right at the start of the day's proceedings, opposition leader V D Satheesan raised strong objection to what he called the finance minister K N Balagopal's attempt to ridicule the UDF legislators who were staging a 'satyagraha' inside the Assembly since February 6. On February 8, while replying to the discussion on the Budget in the Assembly, Balagopal said that the UDF had opportunistically resorted to the 'satyagraha' after gathering from the media that the government might reduce the petrol cess by one rupee. "The finance minister has only ridicule and contempt for the opposition and the common man," Satheesan said.

Further, he said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, when he was party secretary, had urged people not to pay the additional tax and petrol cost during the UDF tenure. He said the UDF would not co-operate with the House proceedings until the new levies were withdrawn. 

UDF MLAs march in protest to the Kerala Assembly. Photo: Screengrab/Manorama

Following this, UDF legislators trooped to the well of the house shouting slogans of "tax loot" and "pickpocket". They then raised a wide anti- government banner with "tax loot", "daylight robbery" and "pickpocket" and spread it across the field of vision of Speaker M Shamseer. Amid loud shouting, the Speaker rushed through the proceedings and called it a day in less than an hour. The House will reconvene on February 27. The finance minister had made it clear on February 8 that he would not wind down the new tax measures announced in the Budget.

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