Fronts square up over CAAreference in policy address

Stage set for a protracted face-off in Assembly and outside

The government and the Opposition squared up to each other with duelling claims about the political fallout of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s policy address in the Assembly on Wednesday.

Setting the stage for a protracted face-off in the Assembly and outside, Parliamentary Affairs Minister A.K. Balan appeared to suggest a victory for the LDF government while Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala termed it a capitulation.

Mr. Balan told reporters that the Governor read the policy address finalised by the Cabinet in toto. “Mr Khan read even the part he wanted excluded. It is a good thing,” he said. “Ideally, the Governor could have avoided expressing his reservations about paragraph 18, which dwells on the government’s opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA),” he added. Mr. Balan said the UDF conspiracy to precipitate a constitutional crisis by creating a rift between the government and the Governor had come to naught.

Invoking Lavalin case

Mr. Chennithala countered by stating that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was constrained to cosy up to the Centre to ward off any trouble in the SNC-Lavalin case. He had no option but to appease the Governor by allowing him to air his reservations about the anti-CAA resolution passed by the House unanimously. The CBI had appealed Mr. Vijayan’s discharge in the corruption case in the Supreme Court. The Chief Minister believed that Mr. Khan could save him from the legal jeopardy. Hence, Mr. Vijayan sacrificed the interest of secular polity at the altar of self-preservation.

Mr. Chennithala demanded that the Speaker expunge from Assembly records the Governor’s remark that he had severe reservations about the anti-CAA resolution. (Mr Balan remained non-committal about the demand.) Mr. Khan told reporters later that he had witnessed worse protests during his time as an MLA and then MP.

The BJP also forced itself into the fray. Inaugurating a march in front of the Assembly, former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan said people would reply to the affront to the constitutional head of State by “recalling” Mr. Chennithala from the Assembly in the next election.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:10:53 AM |

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