Opposition attempts disruption, House adjourned for the day

The budget session of the Kerala Assembly underway; Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: Manorama News

Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition UDF was determined to disrupt Assembly proceedings on Monday and its members rushed to the Speaker's podium the moment Opposition Leader V D Satheesan announced at the start of the day that the circumstances did not allow the UDF to cooperate. However, Speaker A N Shamseer was in no mood to relent.

He defiantly conducted the Question Hour amid raucous Opposition sloganeering. In between, when questions related to scheduled Tribes and caste and fisherfolk were taken and in an attempt to shame the Opposition into surrendering, the Speaker requested the shouting members to behave.

"These are very important issues concerning the most marginalised people in our society. Please go back to your seats," he said. The UDF members persisted with their shouting.

By around 9.30 am near the halfway mark of the Question Hour, the UDF members cranked up their aggression. Standing below the podium, and with their arms raised, they intensified their shouts and vigorously waved their placards at the Speaker.

And when the Speaker continued to ignore them, they took out a large banner that, during the early days of the protest, was horizontally spread across the Speaker's face. After the Speaker had complained of this practice, the banner was kept rolled up. Ever since, only placards were used for protests against the Speaker.

On Monday, the banner screaming 'Speaker Should be fair' was back. Just when the banner was up, an apparently angered Speaker suspended the proceedings and walked out of the House. Though the session got underway later, the House had to be adjourned for the day owing to continued protests.

In the last two days, when the Opposition had created trouble, the Speaker had rushed through the proceedings and wound up the day within 15 minutes of the start.

On Monday, the Opposition Leader said it was impossible for the UDF to cooperate. "Fake cases have been foisted on seven of our MLAs, including two women legislators. Even then no discussions have been held to sort out the issues," Satheesan said. "This is the very same approach employed by Modi who had sent the police to the House of Rahul Gandhi," Satheesan said.

The Opposition Leader termed the government's Assembly management as a ploy to evade discussion and debates inside the floor of the Assembly. The UDF's biggest grouse is that the LDF government was brazenly depriving it of its power to move adjournment motions in the House.

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