Kerala assembly ends session amid accusations of graft

Thursday, February 24, 2011

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM - The 12th Kerala assembly ended the last day of its session on a tumultuous note Thursday, with both the treasury and opposition benches trading accusations of corruption, forcing the speaker to finish the day’s business in a flash.

Soon after question hour, the opposition sought to move an adjournment motion on the disclosure made by P. Sasi, former political secretary to former chief minister E.K. Nayanar, that Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan tried to influence a judicial probe into the 2000 liquor tragedy which left 32 people dead.

The opposition was also shouting slogans against Achuthanandan’s son, V. Arunkumar, whose trip to Macau has raked up controversy as has his alleged role in scuttling a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into a lottery scandal.

But Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said the issue was discussed earlier and a submission to this effect had come up twice, hence it would not be taken up.

This irked the opposition members who rushed to the speaker’s podium, calling Achuthanandan a corrupt chief minister.

Then it was turn of the treasury benches to group together and shout slogans against corruption among opposition members, including R. Balakrishnan Pillai, who is in jail in a corruption case fought by Achuthanandan.

The listed business of the house was finished in a flash. The entire opposition then trooped out of the house and squatted in front of the assembly for a while.

Speaking to reporters later, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy said Achuthanandan is a spineless politician who is running away after allegations were levelled against him, his office and his son.

“We are now handing over a news item that was aired on JaiHind TV, which says that his son collected Rs.7 lakh in 2003 from a group of sandalwood factory owners when Achuthanandan was leader of opposition (2001-06). Now that the assembly is over, we will take up the issue,” said Chandy.

Achuthanandan, after moving a resolution in the house seeking indefinite adjournment, broke convention and listed out his government’s achievements.

“Today with one of the top opposition leaders (Pillai) now in jail and a few others set to enter jail, the opposition is jittery and is levelling baseless allegations,” said Achuthanandan.

Later, barring Achuthanandan, ruling legislators and ministers took to the streets and assembled near the War Memorial to protest what they called opposition gimmicks.

Thursday was the last day of the current session of the state assembly, whose term ends in May. The stage is now set for a high voltage assembly poll campaign.

Filed under: Politics

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