High drama in Kerala Assembly as UDF MLAs stage walkout

Last Updated 29 January 2020, 10:58 IST

The Kerala Assembly witnessed high drama on Wednesday with the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front MLAs blocking Governor Arif Mohammed Khan in the house and the Governor later reading out the anti-CAA portions in the CPM-led left-front government's policy address by expressing his dissent.

The Opposition, which staged the protest against the Governor for his pro-CAA stands and criticisms against the joint resolution passed by the Assembly against CAA, alleged that the unholy nexus between the ruling left-front and the BJP came out in the open with the day's development in the Assembly.

As the Governor entered the house by around 9 am Opposition MLAs shouted 'Go back', 'No to CAA' and 'RSS agent' slogans against him and marched to the well of the house raising placards and banners. They blocked the Governor from proceeding to the dais to deliver the policy address. As the Opposition did not concede to requests of chief minister and speaker P Sreeramakrishnan to block the Governor, the watch and ward personnel forcefully removed the Opposition MLAs and paved way for the Governor to the dais. The Opposition subsequently boycotted the house.

The Governor later commented that he had seen much worse protest while being a MLA.

Governor read anti-CAA remarks with dissent

The Governor, who has been on a stand off with the state government over CAA, has read out the anti-CAA remarks in the policy address after expressing dissent.

Mr. Khan said that though he was of the view that the following portion did not come under the definition of policy or programme, the Chief Minister said that it was the government's view and hence he was reading it.

It read that citizenship should not be on the basis of religion and CAA was against the secularism, which is the basic structure of the Constitution. The voices of genuine apprehensions of the states need to be considered by the central government in the right spirit, keeping broad national interest in mind, particularly when constitutional values are involved and there are widespread anxieties and apprehension among a large number of our citizenry.

Though the Governor earlier sought remarks from the state government on the anti-CAA remarks in the policy address, the Chief Minister had conveyed that the policy address was approved by the Cabinet and the Governor was obliged to read it. Hence it was widely speculated that the Governor may skip the said portion, as did by some Governors in the past.

The Opposition later demanded that the dissent of the Governor should not be made part of Assembly records. The Speaker would be taking a decision on it.

Meanwhile, a decision on a notice given by the Opposition for a resolution in the assembly against the Governor was still pending.

The Kerala Assembly had reportedly witnessed instances of opposition members protesting against the Governor on various issues during 1970s and 1990s, said sources.

(Published 29 January 2020, 04:02 IST)

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