MLAs' ‘misbehaviour' with woman member of Watch-and-Ward staff

The ruling front and the Opposition are likely to take unyielding positions in the Assembly on Monday, when the House reconvenes after the weekend hot from Friday's unsavoury incidents.

The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) convened a meeting of its State liaison committee on Sunday night to discuss what position its members should take in the Assembly on Monday.

According to a leader who spoke to The Hindu just before the meeting, the sentiment among the coalition parties was in favour of strong action against two young Opposition members who had, according to the government side, “misbehaved with a woman member of the Watch-and-Ward staff.”

The scrutiny of the video recordings of the Assembly proceedings done by the leaders from both sides in the presence of Speaker G. Karthikeyan on Friday evening showed a general melee, in which some of the Opposition members were seen pressing forward in the direction of the Speaker's podium and the Watch-and-Ward staff standing firm as a barricade.

In the absence of any recorded proof to either substantiate or dismiss the charges, independent observers feel that the Speaker's statesmanship will come under test in resolving the issue and taking the Assembly forward in this session.

On behalf of the Opposition, T.M. Thomas Isaac came on record on Sunday stating that the Opposition would not accept any disciplinary action against the MLAs. The aggression had happened on the part of the Watch-and-Ward staff.

The UDF leader who talked to The Hindu also said that the coalition parties would suggest to the Speaker that he withdraw the Watch-and-Ward staff altogether and allow the proceedings in the House to go on air for the people to be the witnesses to what was happening in the Assembly.

The UDF's Parliamentary Party in the Assembly would meet at 7.30 a.m. on Monday to discuss what was discussed at Sunday night's liaison committee meeting before the members proceed to the House for the day's session.