Question hour, zero hour cancelled amid protests by the Opposition

The Kerala Assembly had to be adjourned on Tuesday with the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Opposition insisting on the resignation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the solar scam and the alleged links between his close aides and the accused in the case.

As soon as Speaker G. Karthikeyan took up questions after the House met at 8.30 a.m., the Opposition legislators were on their feet demanding the suspension of the question hour. They displayed banners and placards and started shouting slogans. They demanded action against officials for Monday’s police action against the activists of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) youth organisations near the Assembly complex.

When the Speaker called Minister for Finance K.M. Mani to reply to a question, members of the Opposition rushed to the front benches and later the well of the house and the Speaker’s podium raising their demands.

The Speaker’s repeated appeal to them to cooperate with the proceedings and return to their seats went unheeded. He reminded the Opposition legislators that the question hour could not be suspended.

As the Opposition legislators continued slogan shouting, the Speaker cancelled the question hour and the zero hour and took up the financial business scheduled for the day.

Mr. Chandy presented the Demands for Grants in the budget for the year 2013-14 for the Stamps and Registration and Food Department in the absence of Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob. Minister for Excise, Ports and Fisheries K. Babu and Minister for Finance and Law K.M. Mani presented the demands.

Amid the din, the House passed the demands without discussion and the Speaker announced that the grants were allocated. As the Opposition stepped up its protest, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day by 8.35 a.m. and left the podium.

Later, the parliamentary party of the LDF met in the Assembly complex under the chairmanship of Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and decided to intensify the stir for the resignation of the Chief Minister and a judicial probe into scam.

The Opposition criticised the decision of the Speaker to cancel the zero hour and pointed out that it was against conventions. They alleged that the Speaker was trying to help the ruling front by cancelling the zero hour.

The Opposition legislators, led by Mr. Achuthanandan, later staged a dharna in front of the main gate of the legislature complex.

  • Opposition stages dharna in front of Assembly

  • To intensify stir for Chandy’s resignation