Thiruvananthapuram: The state Assembly was plunged into turmoil and the MLAs nearly came to blows on Thursday following Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s allegations that the Shiv Sena workers involved in moral policing on Marine Drive in Kochi on Wednesday were UDF hirelings. A remark made by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala against Mr K. V. Abdul Khader, Guruvayur CPM MLA, in connection with the blocking of a water tanker to the Guruvayur temple also led to noisy scenes. While the speaker expunged Mr Chennithala’s remarks against Mr. Khader, the Opposition boycotted the proceedings urging him to expunge the CM’s remarks as well
While the LDF alleged that the Opposition used abusive words against the chief minister apart from pointing fingers at him, the Opposition flayed the chief minister for entering the well of the House after it was suspended. The dramatic scenes erupted after Congress MLA Hibi Eden gave a notice for an adjournment motion on a series of moral policing incidents. The noisy scenes were initially triggered during the speech by the Opposition leader after Speaker denied permission for the adjournment motion considering the chief minister’s reply. In his address, Mr. Chennithala referred to the blocking of water tanker to Guruvayur from Chavakkad on Wednesday night.
As Mr. Khader intervened and said that two UDF MLAs were among those who protested against the carrying of water from Chavakkad to Guruvayur, Mr Chennithala accused Mr. Khader of politicising the issue. He further made a statement, which triggered strong allegations from treasury benches, that the opposition leader was giving a communal colour. Subsequently, the speaker ruled that the said portion would be expunged from the proceedings of the House. Later, the Opposition MLAs squatted in the well of the House protesting against the moral policing incidents. Subsequently, the chief minister stated that the Shiv Sena workers at Marine Drive seemed to be hirelings of the UDF.
Provoked by this, the UDF MLAs rushed towards the Speaker’s dais and some shouted against the CM. A section of agitated LDF MLAs, rushed towards the front row shouting against the UDF MLAs. The House witnessed a heated exchange of words between the MLAs and they even dared each other. Senior members rushed to the spot and tried to calm down the agitated MLAs of both sides. Though the speaker rose from his seat and urged the MLAs to maintain restraint, the tension kept on escalating. As a clash was about to erupt, the speaker suspended the House.
Immediately, the chief minister came to the well of the House and asked the UDF MLAs whether they were trying to threaten him and said such attempts won’t work. While the House later convened after about an hour, the chief minister justified his action stating that he entered the well only after the House was suspended. He also did not concede the opposition’s demand to withdraw the statement that Shiv Sena activists were UDF hirelings. Though the speaker assured the Opposition that he would examine the demand to expunge the remark, they insisted on withdrawing it forthwith as the speaker had already expunged a remark by Mr. Chennithala. Subsequently, they boycotted the day’s proceedings.