THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition UDF moved a no-confidence motion in the Kerala Assembly against the Pinarayi Vijayan government and raised several allegations on bribery as the one-day session of the legislature began on Monday in strict compliance with Covid-19 protocol.
The debate on the no-confidence motion began in the House at 10 am as Speaker allotted five hours to debate on the issue.
Congress MLA V D Satheesan presented the no-confidence motion against the LDF government on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.
He quoted Mark Antony's speech in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and said that in the current scenario, captain of the ship is the Chief Minister and the problem lies within the cabin of the captain.
Satheesan in his inimitable style maintained that Vijayan could not walk away from the responsibility when his office has been involved in the gold smuggling case.
He also mentioned that there is a concerted effort to ensure that all the blame is bestowed on Pinarayi’s former principal secretary M Sivasankar. It is unfortunate that Pinarayi keeps claiming that he doesn’t know anything, he said.
Bribery allegations raised against left government
The alleged bribery involved in the Life Mission as well as on the back door appointments made by the CMO, was also touched upon by the MLA.
Much to the embarrassment of the ruling front, Satheesan informed the Assembly that Rs 9.25 crore was the commission amount in the Life Mission scheme -- an all-time record amount of bribery in the country.
Till now, only Rs 4.50 crore was reported to be the commission amount in the Life Mission scheme.
Interestingly, the Opposition also came out with a new allegation involving the Bev Q app where a CPM leader has walked away with "Rs 5 crore bribe."
Earlier, at the beginning of the session, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded the Speaker to leave the seat of the speaker in light of the notice given by M Ummer of the IUML seeking removal of Speaker Sreeramakrishnan.
M Ummer had cited that the Speaker had tarnished the image of the House by attending a function sponsored by Swapna Suresh, the accused in the gold-smuggling case.
The Speaker himself rejected the notice given by the Opposition to move a resolution against him, saying that the notice did not meet the 14-day advance notice period criteria mentioned in the Constitution and rejected the notice.
Law Minister A K Balan who addressed the House also said that the notice given by the Opposition has no legal sanctity.
While the floor of the Assembly witnessed heated debates happening against the LDF Government, BJP State leadership held its protest outside the entrance to the Assembly on the privatization of the Thiruvananthapuram Airport issue.
BJP State president K Surendran and the lone BJP MLA O Rajagopal held protests outside the Assembly along with the other party workers.
Earlier Rajagopal was denied permission to speak on the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport privatization issue even though he had raised his hand seeking permission to speak.
BJP Thiruvananthapuram district president V V Rajesh and former district president S Suresh also attended the protest. They protested by demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The BJP leaders were later arrested and taken to the Museum Police Station.
The presentation of the finance bill will also be held and it would be followed by the discussion on the no-confidence motion.
Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission chairperson V S Achuthanandan and C F Thomas MLA have not attended the morning session of the assembly citing health reasons.
The Jose faction of the Kerala Congress (M) is also abstaining from the assembly proceedings. The lone BJP legislator O Rajagopal is expected to support the no-confidence motion.