Sabarimala: Three UDF MLAs go on indefinite satyagraha, Assembly stalled

UDF leaders with three MLAs who began a satyagraha at the entrance of the Kerala Assembly in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, December 3, 2018   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) disrupted Assembly proceedings for the fourth consecutive day with three MLAs starting an indefinite satyagraha at its entrance on Monday to protest the imposition of ban orders and lack of basic amenities in Sabarimala.

Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala announced in the Assembly that V.S. Sivakumar (Congress), N. Jayaraj (Kerala Congress (M)) and Parakkal Abdulla (IUML) will go on an indefinite satyagraha to protest the government’s refusal to concede the Opposition demand for lifting ban orders and address inconveniences of Sabarimala pilgrims.

However, he said the UDF wanted to raise people’s issues in the Assembly and would cooperate to conduct the legislative business.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan then welcomed the decision, but said that the Sangh Parivar and the BJP had to wind up the agitation in Sabarimala and now shift to the Secretariat. Now, the UDF was also toeing the same line. The ban orders were imposed to contain violence.

Mr. Chennithala then said that the Opposition does not need the Chief Minister’s permission to go an agitation and accused him of providing facilities to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to resort to violence in Sabarimala.

He alleged that the Home Department was under the control of RSS leader Valsan Tillenkeri and not with Mr. Vijayan. The Chief Minister then said that the Opposition does not need his consent and observed that the Congress was not following the stance of party president Rahul Gandhi on the Sabarimala issue. He denied helping the RSS and said that Congress leaders now had BJP president Amit Shah as their leader.

Mr. Chennithala again rose to reply, but Speaker P. Sreeramakrishan said that he could speak during zero hour. Opposition members then rushed to the well of the House and raised a black banner blocking the view of the Speaker. Left Democratic Front members too came out of their seats and this led to heated exchanges. Mr. Sreeramakrishnan then cancelled question hour, zero hour and completed the day’s business in haste and adjourned the House for the day.

Later, Mr. Chennithala told reporters that the onus for stalling the proceedings vests with the Chief Minister and said that he was conducting himself like the secretary of the CPI(M). Mr. Chennithala alleged that Mr. Vijayan passed a note to the Speaker and that might be a direction to wind up the proceedings. This was aimed at avoiding a discussion on an adjournment motion that the Opposition was planning to move against Minorities Welfare Minister K.T. Jaleel in connection with the appointments in Kerala Minorities Development Corporation.

Mr. Vijayan was the first accused in the issue and he was trying to evade a discussion, Mr. Chennithala said.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 7:50:36 AM |

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