THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The main Opposition UDF and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan engaged in a war of words after the UDF accused the Chair of denying the Opposition its rights. The UDF has accused the Speaker of behaving in a partisan manner in the Assembly. Alleging the Speaker is not protecting the Opposition’s rights, the UDF charged the Speaker with autocratic behaviour. Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, however, refuted, the Opposition charge.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala told reporters - after the House had been adjourned early - the Speaker has not been protecting the Opposition’s rights. In a clear reference to the Assembly mayhem three years ago, when the-then Opposition LDF had disrupted the House proceedings over the bar bribery scam - Chennithala urged Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan to introspect.
“We need justice from the Chair. He should check what’s the precedence followed by the Assembly. The Speaker is the one to protect our rights. He should ensure the same. We are forced to criticise the Speaker. We don’t have or want to have any tussle with the Chair. We have tried to raise an issue. The Speaker has refused to grant us permission. If we can’t raise an issue in Assembly, why are we coming here (House)?” asked an emotional Chennithala. Responding to questions on Speaker’s criticisms against UDF legislators’ behaviour in the House, Chennithala urged the Speaker to introspect. “None of us has thrown Speaker’s chair from dais. We didn’t act in a disrespectful manner,” he said.
Soon afterwards, the Speaker convened a presser at which he refuted the Opposition charges. Sivaramakrishnan insisted the Opposition’s rights had not been trampled upon. “However the Chair can protect their rights only according to the Assembly rules and proceedings. The Speaker has to protect the Opposition’s rights and ensure the government’s business is conducted,” he said. He termed the statements by the Opposition leader a mere emotional outburst.