Violence marks Kerala budget presentation

Finance Minister K.M. Mani presents the budget in Kerala Assembly amidst chaos. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar   | Photo Credit: C_RATHEESH KUMAR

The Kerala Assembly witnessed unprecedented violence on Friday as Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) members tried to prevent Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who faces bribery charges in connection with the bar licence row, from presenting the 2015-2016 budget.

Roads leading to the legislature turned into a war zone with LDF activists fighting pitched battles with the police, setting fire to a police van and government vehicles and throwing stones.

Inside the House, Mr. Mani presented the budget, showing a cumulative deficit of Rs. 848 crore and announcing taxation proposals that could push up prices of many essentials.

The budget speech, 140 pages in print, lasted just six minutes as Opposition members, who had occupied the Speaker’s dais from early morning, jostled with the watch and ward staff to get close to him and almost came to blows with their treasury bench counterparts in a bid to break the security cover around the Finance Minister.

As many as nine Opposition MLAs were admitted to hospital after some collapsed and others complained of exhaustion. Twelve watch and ward staff were also admitted to hospital with minor injuries.

Meeting shortly after the dispersal of the House, the LDF leadership announced a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday to protest ‘the attack’ on Opposition MLAs and the lathi-charge on activists.

When legislators turned lawless: top five instances

The violence witnessed in the Kerala Assembly today as the Finance Minister presented his budget is by no means an isolated occurrence. India's State Assemblies have witnessed their share of lawlessness. Here is a list of five unforgettable instances:

>March 13, 2015


Police lathi-charge and tear-gas necessitated after Opposition LDF MLAs destroy furniture in the State Assembly, protesting State Finance Minister K.M. Mani’s bid to present annual budget. Announcing that the LDF would hold a sit-in in the House, Leader of Opposition stressed that Mr. Mani was involved in a Vigilance case, had misused his official position. MLA P. Thilothaman claimed the sanctity of the budget had been lost as Mr. Mani had sold it for personal gains.

>
Tamil Nadu

Speaker’s podium damaged, files torn up as members of DMDK and AIADMK exchange barbs on each other’s party leaders. The scuffle began after an AIADMK leader made a jibe against DMDK chief Vijayakant’s absence in the House. This was followed by Deputy Leader of Opposition S. Mohanraj's rebuttal, a remark later expunged, on AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, before being evicted from the House.

>

>February 20, 2015


>July 22, 2010


Opposition attacks Speaker, Chairman of Legislative Council while demanding ouster of former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and then Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi over alleged irregularities, amounting to Rs. 11,412 crore, in development schemes. Opposition MLAs had sat in dharna overnight outside the Assembly premises. Political observers claim, however, that the violence was orchestrated for TV channels and local media.

>

13 MNS MLAs assault SP MLA Abu Azmi in Assembly for taking oath in Hindi rather than Marathi. His microphone is snatched at, slippers are flung at him, and he is hit on the head with a stack of papers. Before the session, Mr. Azmi had requested the Assembly secretary to be allowed to swear oath in Hindi, the national language. To this, MNS chief Raj Thackeray had retorted, “…he should go to Uttar Pradesh”. The incident was an offshoot of a longer rivalry — Mr. Azmi had clashed with Mr. Thackeray in 2008 over the issue of the party’s violence against North Indians.

>

>November 10, 2009


>October 22, 1997
Uttar Pradesh


Left party MLAs and BJP lawmakers fling chairs, microphones at one another during and after a debate on vote of confidence for the ruling BJP. The melee pitted BJP legislators against centrist and leftist opposition groups, who later stormed out of the chamber. The vote of confidence was called for after then coalition partner BSP expressed anger over the then Kalyan Singh govt.’s anti-Dalit agenda.

>

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Printable version | Sep 14, 2021 6:20:49 PM |

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