THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hen the Kerala Assembly takes up its 19th notice for a noconfidence motion on Monday, it’s going to be one of the shortest discussions over the motion. It is after a gap of 15 years that a noconfidence motion is coming up before the House. If the discussion on the last such motion was the longest in the assembly’s history, lasting about 21 hours over three days, this one would get hardly five hours. The last such motion was moved in 2005 in the 11th assembly by CPM’s Kodiyeri Balakrishnan against the Oommen Chandy government, alleging major corruption charges against various ministers.
The ministers’ replies lasted for more than five hours. On Monday, Congress’ VD Satheesan will move the motion against the Pinarayi government over a slew of corruption charges, including gold smuggling and Life Mission. The UDF however feels that the time allotted is insufficient for detailed discussions. With the Left enjoying a massive majority in the House, it would turn out to be a token protest. At a presser on Friday, Kodiyeri urged the UDF to attend the entire session and vote on the no- confidence motion. “It will be defeated and the UDF is sure to have a setback in the assembly. They should listen to all the ministers’ replies and attend voting too, instead of walking out after moving the resolution and finishing their speeches,” he said.
V D Satheesan however said the government is afraid of the motion. “Last time the government postponed the session citing flimsy reasons. The attempt is to downplay the same. The Congress’ floor strategy need not be decided by Kodiyeri Balakrishnan,” he told TNIE. Though it’s the 19th notice, it will be the 16th time a noconfidence motion is being taken up for discussion in the House. Of the total 15 which were discussed, just one was passed. Two notices didn’t get permission, as these didn’t qualify for the nod from a minimum of 20 members.
“Only if 20 members approve will it be allowed for discussion. At the time, it was brought out by independent members — one of them Attingal Gopala Pillai — and they couldn’t get the support of the Opposition. In 1961, a notice was given against three PSP ministers — Damodaran Potty, K Chandrasekharan and Pattom Thanu Pillai — by C G Janardanan. But a no- confidence motion can be moved only against the entire cabinet. Since the motion was not in order, the Speaker rejected the same,” said sources.
The only motion that got accepted was in 1964 September, when PSP’s P K Kunju moved a motion against R Shankar cabinet. As per rules, the motion will be taken up soon after Question Hour. Since there are a couple of other proceedings including a resolution, a final decision will be taken later. “Usually discussions on noconfidence motions last four 2-3 days. But now we have been given just five hours,” pointed out Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.