Stormy start to Ker Assembly session; LDF boycotts address

Stormy start to Ker Assembly session; LDF boycotts address

Kerala Governor P Sathasivam today scripted history in the state assembly when he asked CPI(M)-led LDF Opposition members to "sit quiet or leave the House" as they tried to disrupt his address on the first day of this year's session.

The former CJI's remark came when the LDF repeatedly tried to obstruct his customary policy address with slogans demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and some of his Cabinet colleagues, facing bribery allegations in the bar and solar scams.

According to assembly sources, this is the first time in state assembly history that the Governor has chided the Opposition. During similar instances earlier, the Governors either used to cut short their address or place it on the table of the House, which is taken as read.

As the protest continued, an annoyed Justice Sathasivam, asked the Opposition to allow him to complete his constitutional duties and requested them to "sit quiet or leave the House."

The Governor kept his cool but asserted that he has to fulfil the constitutional duty.
When some LDF members requested the Governor to table the address, Sathasivam quipped "I have full energy and I will read it slowly."

The Governor said,"You have raised your democratic protest. Your are opposing this government. That is enough. You should allow me to do my constitutional duty. I am noting all your objections."

"The entire nation is watching. People are noting your objection... I think there is some limit. Beyond a point, it cannot be tolerated," he said addressing CPI-M veteran and Opposition leader, V S Achuthanandan.

At one point, the Governor even asked the Opposition to read the Constitution.
Seeing no let up in the LDF protest, Sathasivam told CPI-M state secretary and deputy leader of the Opposition in the House, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that "this may happen to you also."

"I am aware whatever protest you are doing is not against me, but against the government," he said to pacify the Opposition.

Later, the Opposition trooped out raising slogans against the government and Chief Minister.

The Governor took over two-and-half-hours to complete his 78-page address in which he focused on the achievements of the five year rule of the UDF government after LDF boycotted it.

The Governor described the 5-year-rule of Chandy government as the 'golden age of opportunities,' and said it had ensured the realisation of some of the major infrastructure projects of the state.

"The first among them would be the Rs 5181-crore Kochi Metro Rail Project, the first phase of which will be over by June 2016," Sathasivam said.

He also mentioned various other development projects including the proposed Light Metro Rail at Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, for which the government had signed an agreement with DMRC, Kannur International Airport and Kochi Smart City.

He said the state government's Kerala Technology Start-Up Policy in 2015, the first such policy in the country, had boosted a tremendous momentum in creating a conducive atmosphere for start-ups to succeed.

"So far, 405 start-ups have been incubated in the Start-Up Village in Kochi. This has become such a great role model that the entire country is following this success story," he noted.

On the Vizhinjam International Deep-Sea transhipment port project, considered as one of the flagship development projects of the UDF government, he said work has already begun on the Rs 7525-crore project and it would "re-establish India's strategic supremacy in Indian Ocean."

The House witnessed a minor flutter when a man sitting in the visitors gallery raised some slogans demanding representation of Dalits in the Ministry. The man, identified as one Satish of nearby Poonthura, was immediately whisked off by the watch and ward staff.

The incident happened after the Governor had completed his address and left the House.
As part of their plans to intensify their agitation against the government over the various scams, the Opposition had decided to take their protest inside the Assembly and had even requested the Governor to abstain from making his address.

Earlier, as soon as the Governor began his customary address at the start of the session, Achuthanandan stood up and said the government was 'neck deep' in corruption and investigation against them was going on and wanted the Governor to intervene.

The Opposition began shouting slogans holding the banner "Don't want tainted Ministry's policy."

The 14-day sitting is politically significant as this is the last session of the 13th Kerala Assembly before the state goes to the polls in two months time.

After trooping out from the House, the Opposition members, including Achuthanandan, protested in front of the war memorial at Palayam.

The Left front also took out an Assembly march demanding resignation of Chandy and ministers facing allegations in the solar and bar scams.

Inaugurating the march at the memorial, Achuthanandan, said the left parties will continue with their protests until Chandy, Power Minister Arayadan Mohammed and Excise Minister, K Babu, who are facing bribery allegations in solar and bar scams, resign.

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