Nikhil Kumar flays stir, welcomes constructive criticism

Opposition members staged protests in Kerala Assembly on Friday as the Budget session began with the policy address of Governor Nikhil Kumar.

 The Opposition held placards and banners and shouted slogans demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the solar panel scam as the Governor arrived in the House for the address. The protesting members also demanded the withdrawal of the hike in cooking gas prices.

Demanding a probe by a sitting judge of the High Court into the scam relating to cheating of investors over proposed solar energy projects, in which members of the Chief Minister’s personnel staff were allegedly involved, the protests continued for about five minutes into the speech of the Governor.

Though Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan made a statement during the protests, it was not audible as the microphones were off.

Opposition members also shouted slogans after the Governor concluded the speech and as he was leaving the Assembly.

In his concluding remarks, the Governor criticised the agitations by the Opposition. “My Government has always welcomed any constructive criticism on its functioning. At the same time, one cannot but comment on increasing fissiparous tendencies to resort to subterfuge and insinuations for political advantage even on matters where the honourable courts of the land have not seen it appropriate to intervene.”

 Mr. Kumar said the government had handled all such agitations in the highest democratic traditions, even though on many occasions such agitations have grossly breached the bounds of dignity and order and had even endangered lives and compromised the rights and freedom of people.

“Expressing dissent is an inalienable right of a human being. But, needless to say, freedom without restraint is a sure recipe for chaos and disaster. It is again well worth remembering that these are difficult times when the fabric of secularism in our country is increasingly being threatened,” he added.

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