Kerala Assembly: UDF stages walkout over scarcity of Plus One seats in six districts in north Kerala

IUML legislator N. Samsudheen serves adjournment notice seeking Kerala Assembly’s leave for emergency debate on government’s ‘dismissive attitude’ towards students and their families in Malabar region

Updated - June 11, 2024 03:46 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2024 12:53 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram 

The Kerala Legislative Assembly.

The Kerala Legislative Assembly. | Photo Credit: S. GOPAKUMAR

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition walked out of the Kerala Legislative Assembly on June 11 accusing the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government of not providing enough Plus One seats to fulfil the academic aspirations of higher secondary students in six districts in North Kerala. 

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator N. Samsudheen served an adjournment notice seeking the Assembly’s leave for an emergency debate on the government’s “dismissive attitude” towards students and their families in the Malabar region.

Mr. Samsudheen quickly clarified that his intention was “not to stoke parochial sentiments or foster an unhealthy North-South divide” in Kerala. He said he was merely holding a mirror to a “highly perturbing and deeply emotional” issue.

He said the pain of the people of Malabar had compelled him to compare the Plus One seat situation in Malappuram and Pathanamthitta.

Mr. Samsudheen said a student with a low score in Pathanamthitta could quickly get admission to the coveted Plus One Science course at a school near his or her residence. In contrast, a student in Malappuram with an A+ in all subjects would find it difficult to get a Plus one seat in a school within a reasonable distance from home.

“Nearly 14,000 Plus One seats lie vacant in Pathanamthitta. The government should reallocate them to benefit students in the ill-served northern districts”, he said.

“A student from an ordinary working-class family in Ponnani must commute daily to a school 75 km away in Nilambur to study her favourite course. The child would have to sit in a crowded classroom of 70, much more than the optimum class size for Plus One courses. Learning becomes the causality”, he said.

‘Govt stonewalling Malabar’s demand’

Mr. Shasudheen said the government had constantly stonewalled Malabar’s demand for more Plus One batches by citing that appointing more teachers and hiring guest lecturers would entail significant expenditure the administration could ill-afford. 

He said the people had dealt a blow to the LDF government in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections for its misplaced priorities. “You have money to appoint K.V. Thomas as Special Officer in New Delhi, organise extravaganzas such as Keraleeyam and Navakerala Sadas and tour the State in a ₹1.5-crore custom-designed luxury bus. But, you are not willing to invest in the future of children”, he said.

Mr. Samsudheen said the LDF’s “apathy, arrogance, profligacy and misplaced priorities” had alienated the people from the Pinarayi Vijayan government. “The LDF would do better to remember that the people rewarded the BJP wherever they punished the government. The drift is ominous for Kerala”, he said.

Sivankutty’s counter

Education Minister V. Sivankutty countered by pointing out that the UDF had lost its votes to the BJP, including in the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency.

He said the LDF had maintained its support base and posted a marginal increase in vote share in several constituencies. “The UDF should be more worried”, he added.

Mr. Sivankutty reeled out Plus One admission and seat availability statistics and claimed these showed that Mr. Samsudheen’s accusations were a gross exaggeration. “Thousands of Plus One seats lie vacant in Malappuram”, he said.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan attributed the high vacancy rate in Malappuram to the fact that students find studying in far-flung schools taxing and financially demanding of their parents.

He said the government should conduct an educational survey at the taluk level and reallocate Plus One courses so that students from all parts of the State benefit equally.

Unparliamentary usage frays tempers

Mr. Samsudheen’s use of a particular word against the Treasury benches frayed tempers. Speaker A.N. Shamseer restored order by pushing Mr. Samsudheen to withdraw the unparliamentary usage. He later expunged the word from Assembly records.

Mr. Shamseer denied the UDF’s demand for an adjournment debate, prompting the Opposition to stage a walkout.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.