Thiruvananthapuram: The Sabarimala issue rocked the Assembly on Wednesday with the Opposition disrupting the proceedings demanding the suspension of question hour to discuss the matter.
Congress member V.S. Sivakumar had given notice for an adjournment motion on the restrictions imposed by the state government on Sabarimala.
The UDF legislators jumped from their seats shouting slogans and displaying placards and banners asking the government to withdraw the restrictions as soon as the speaker called Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to reply to the first question listed for the day.
Even as the slogan-shouting continued, Mr. Vijayan replied to the question related to the floods, raised by Mr Saji Cherian of the CPM and others. The speaker allowed him to 'club' four questions on the floods.
This provoked the Opposition which trooped to the well of the House despite the appeal of the speaker to cooperate with the proceedings.
Later, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, who was allowed to speak after the UDF legislators returned to the seats, questioned the decision to allow the chief minister to reply to the questions taking 45 minutes of the one-hour zero hour denying the legislators the right to ask supplementary questions.
Mr Vijayan said that Mr Chennithala's remarks proved the intention of the Opposition. They did not want to raise the Sabarimala issue.
This provoked the UDF MLAs who shouted slogans and rushed to the well of the House.
The LDF legislators were also on their feet asking the UDF legislators to return to their seats. The speaker went ahead with the proceedings with the chief minister answering the supplementary questions.
Soon the speaker suspended the question hour as there were disputes in the UDF camp on the method of the protest. This was after Mr Hibi Eden and others persuaded Mr Anver Sadath and Mr I.C. Balakrishnan from climbing the speaker's podium.
When the speaker returned for the zero hour after suspending the House for sometime, he said that he cannot run the House if the members disobeyed his rulings....