Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) legislators disrupted the proceedings of the Assembly on Wednesday demanding suspension of the Question Hour to take up the adjournment motion moved by them against the restrictions and curbs imposed in the hill shrine of Sabarimala.
As soon as the Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan called the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan to reply to the first question listed for the day, the UDF legislators were on their feet shouting slogans and displaying placards and banners urging the government to fully withdraw the restrictions in the hill shrine.
Amidst slogan shouting, Mr. Vijayan went ahead with the replies to the question related to the August floods, raised by Saji Cherian of CPI(M) and others. The Chair also gave permission to ‘club’ four questions raised by legislators related to the floods.
Soon, the Opposition trooped into the well of the House despite the appeal of the Speaker to cooperate with the procedings and listen to the Chief Minister.
The Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala, was allowed to speak after the UDF legislators returned to the seats. Mr. Chennithala requested the Speaker to take up the demand to suspend the Question Hour. Mr. Chennithala also questioned the conduct of the proceedings and the Chief Minister being allowed to reply for 45 minutes denying the legislators right to ask supplementary questions. He claimed was not being allowed to speak or raise questions.
The Chief Minister said the intention of the Opposition was clear and that they did not want to raise the Sabarimala issue. This led to protests and slogan shouting again by the UDF legislators in the well of the House.
The ruling LDF legislators were also on their feet demanding UDF legislators should go back to the seat. The Speaker went ahead with the proceedings and the Chief Minister answered the supplementary questions.
Few minutes before the close of the Question Hour, the Speaker suspended the proceedings as the agitating Congress legislators engaged in verbal duel in front of the Speaker’s podium over the protest in the well of the House. “I cannot run the House like this”, the Speaker said before returning from the House.
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