THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The friction between Speaker N Sakthan and the government, pointedly with Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala over the latter’s snubbing of the Chair the other day, gave an interesting tryst for the House on its penultimate day of the current winter session on Wednesday. On a day when Bar and Solar issues drew a blank with the Opposition Left laying hands on shortcomings in the state’s once hallowed government health sector and other topics instead, the Assembly witnessed a curious stand off between the Speaker and the government on a relatively silly matter.
The tiff the Speaker had with the Home minister loomed large, and Sakthan’s conspicuous absence gave momentum to rumour mills. The stray dog menace and reported threats issued by Union Minister Maneka Gandhi directly to the capital city corporation secretary and a few other top officials across the state against launching any canine hunt and urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali lashing out at ADGP Jacob Thomas with a warning that the latter would have been sent to his home had he been the Chief Minister, stood out on a rather peaceful day for the House, though the Opposition had staged a walkout on denial of permission to move an adjournment motion on issues in the health sector.
A sulking Sakthan had entrusted the job of steering the House with deputy speaker Palode Ravi, right from the start of Wednesday’s session, though the day was listed for a slew of important businesses. When he didn’t turn up for more than four hours and remained at his office in the Assembly, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and others got wind of it and attempts ensued to mollify the Speaker. The Opposition, however, were not keen to raise the issue.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala himself had to finally prevail upon the Speaker to turn up in the House, after pleading that he had never intended to belittle the Speaker on Tuesday. Ramesh mended fences by pleading that he was unaware that the Chief Minister had urged the Speaker to shorten business in the House on Tuesday in view of a ministerial team going to the airport to see off Prime Minister Narendra Modi to New Delhi.