THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The bar bribery scam continues to haunt the UDF government in the Assembly, though in different formats. On Wednesday, seeking leave for an adjournment motion on the Vizhinjam project, the Left front insisted that the chief minister respond instead of Port Minister K Babu and created ruckus by trooping into the well of the house, raising slogans during the minister’s speech. The Opposition later staged a walkout protesting against the government stand on the issue.
The Opposition LDF created a ruckus in the House when K Babu - accused of seeking `10 crore bribe from bar hotel owners - responded to an adjournment motion over the rehabilitation package for the Vizhinjam seaport project. Coming to the support of the minister, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy hit back at the Left front, accusing them of deliberately attacking Babu, by raising various issues.
Seeking leave for the adjournment motion, Jameela Prakasam said her question was related to the EIA for the project and hence the chief minister should respond. Refusing to listen to Babu on the notice for adjournment motion, the Opposition demanded that the chief minister respond.
Following that, Chandy said he was part of the rehabilitation package talks at the final round only and pointed out that the minister concerned would speak. He promised that if needed he would speak after Babu’s statement. With the chief minister refusing to respond, the Opposition MLAs moved to the well of the House, raising slogans. LDF’s Sivankutty, Sunil Kumar and Babu Palissery went near the Speaker’s podium.
On the issue, Jameela said there were many lapses in the livelihood report and the package announced. She alleged that those who lost houses, job and property were not properly compensated. Later, when K Babu rose to respond, the Opposition again created ruckus and continued to disrupt the speech till he finished. The Opposition also displayed a banner demanding Babu’s resignation. Irritated by the Opposition creating ruckus, the chief minister said he had nothing more to add than what Babu said.
With permission denied for the adjournment motion, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan came down heavily on the government, terming the ground-breaking ceremony of the project a ‘low-level political gimmick’. Referring to the loss-making ICTT Vallarpadom project, VS criticised the government. He also demanded that the clauses in the Vizhinjam agreement be verified again.