Kerala assembly turns unruly over PM’s visit

Monday, February 14, 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM - There were acrimonious scenes in the Kerala assembly Monday after ruling party legislators alleged that the governor, chief minister and other ministers had been treated badly during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to the state.

The treasury benches after a nearly one-hour verbal duel passed a resolution condemning the way the state had been ignored during Manmohan Singh’s visit, but by then the entire opposition had walked out of the house in protest.

Manmohan Singh was in the state for three days last week and the ruling Left government was peeved at the manner in which Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was treated during the visit.

Moving a submission to this effect, senior Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator A. Anandan claimed that the governor, chief minister and ministers were treated badly. This prompted opposition legislators to protest and rush to the well of the house.

Unfazed, speaker after speaker from the treasury bench took up the issue. Tempers had barely cooled somewhat when things went out of control after Achuthanandan replied to the submission.

“The state was neglected during Singh’s visit. An advertisement released on the occasion of the launch of the ICTT (transshiplment terminal) at Vallarpadom had the picture of (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi and even the new Minister of State K.C. Venugopal, but it did not have the picture of the governor or the chief minister. The inauguration took place in Kerala and not in the Arabian sea,” lashed out Achuthanandan.

“Despite all insinuations from several quarters, I kept quiet, but when it increased I had no option but to express it in the open. May be (leader of opposition) Oommen Chandy is capable of standing with folded hands in front of people by not airing opinions frankly and openly, but you will not get me for that,” he said.

Chandy then got up to say it was totally wrong to drag the name of the prime minister into the issue and so he was taking the entire opposition out of the house. Following this, state Law Minister M. Vijayakumar moved a resolution with only the treasury bench members in the house.

Achuthanandan, while sharing the dais with Manmohan Singh on two occasions, accused the central government of neglecting the state. He asked the prime minister to help secure the green signal for the much delayed Kochi Metro and the Palakkad coach factory.

His cabinet colleagues also accused the central government of playing petty politics by not inviting a single state minister to the dais at the function.

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