THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the disclosures of solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishnan against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and a few Congress leaders were doing the rounds, it didn’t rattle the Assembly hall as expected.
The day witnessed a heated debate over the clauses proposed in the Hartal Regulation Bill as the Opposition locked horns with the government and Home minister Ramesh Chennithala. It was eventually left for the consideration of a select committee of the House. A change in the UDF strategies to counter the bar scam allegations and the demand for the resignation of Excise minister K Babu was also evident.
The CM himself led the onslaught against the Opposition for persisting with attacks against Babu. Chandy put up a new face and bluntly told the Opposition that if they were unwilling to discuss critical points, then they could continue making a hue and cry. Chandy insisted that instead of merely levelling charges against Babu and demanding his resignation, the Left members should hear his version first.
The CM, at one point, lost his cool and asked what right the Opposition has got to speak on democracy without caring to enter into a debate. Babu took a stand that he would talk everything in detail and signaled the Opposition to keep up their protest while speaking on issues related to the Vizhinjam port.
Babu and Chandy had also cornered Opposition deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on his charge that cabinet decision was corrected to cut the annual rental fee for bars to Rs 23 lakh, before a decision was taken to close down all the outlets in hotels below four star category. The cabinet note was tabled to contradict the charge.
Chandy also pointed out that the rehabilitation of all those would be affected by the Vizhinjam project has been ensured. He also challenged the Opposition to come out with details of the `6,000 crore corruption in the Vizhinjam project. The Opposition staged a walkout after permission was denied to raise an adjournment motion by JD(S) MLA Jameela Prakasm on the Vizhinjam project. The day also stood out for lively discussions on the proposed Hartal Regulation Bill. CPM legislators E P Jayarajan, A K Balan and K Suresh Kurup were in the forefront to establish that the legislation was draconian, as it infringed the rights of the people to protest.