THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a strange turn of events, Speaker N Sakthan stayed away from Assembly proceedings on Wednesday morning apparently in protest against Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala’s ‘dosa’ remark against him on Tuesday. In his absence, Deputy Speaker Palode Ravi chaired the proceedings.
Sakthan, who remained in his chamber at the Assembly, returned to the hall following reconciliation efforts by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and ministers P K Kunhalikutty and K C Joseph. The Speaker finally relented when the Home Minister himself spoke to him over the phone.
During the discussion on the Non-Resident Keralites’ Welfare (Amendment) Bill, 2015, on Tuesday, Sakthan had intervened, urging the members to keep their speeches short.
There was a tacit understanding in this regard as the Chief Minister and the ministers were scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Thiruvananthapuram airport at 5 pm. However, Chennithala had taken exception to the Speaker’s intervention. He took the stand that Bills cannot be passed like ‘making dosas.’ To this, the Speaker replied that he was not speeding up the proceedings for himself, but because the Chief Minister and the ministers had to meet Modi.
Chennithala had then suggested that the Bill should be set aside for discussion at a later stage. Sakthan had held talks with Oommen Chandy and Chennithala at the airport on Tuesday.
Reportedly, there was an understanding that Chennithala would clarify on Tuesday itself that he had been unaware of the request to speed up the proceedings. But no clarification was made. On Wednesday morning, the Speaker did not chair the proceedings.
Chennithala reportedly called up Sakthan later and told him that he had not been aware of the understanding.