Prove majority, Kodiyeri tells CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM OCT. 28. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, today challenged the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, to convene the State Assembly and prove whether he still enjoyed a majority in the House.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Kodiyeri accused the legislature secretary, K. R. Udayabhanu, of acting as "a rubber stamp'' of the Speaker, Vakkom Purushothaman.

``Our second notice for taking up a motion for the removal of the Speaker also has been rejected by him citing technical reasons. He does not say he has brought our notice to the attention of the Speaker. And it is for the Speaker to refer the notice to the leader of the House, the Chief Minister, so that he can ask for the convening of the House,'' Mr. Balakrishnan said.

He said an LDF delegation would be calling on Mr. Antony on Thursday to formally place a demand for the convening of the Assembly. "It is an excellent opportunity for him to prove that he still enjoys a majority in the House,'' Mr. Kodiyeri said.

Asked why, if the LDF's target was Mr. Antony, it had chosen to move against the Speaker, Mr. Balakrishnan said: "A no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister needs the support of 70 members in the 140-member House. But, for the removal of the Speaker, we need the support of 71 members. We are confident we have it.''

He said Mr. Purushothaman himself had created the situation for the LDF's notice against him. "By actively canvassing votes for Mr. Antony's candidate in the Ernakulam by-election and acting as an agent for one particular group, he has cast aspersions on his ability to function impartially in the Assembly. It is not that, having taken over as the Speaker, we expect him to cease to be a politician,'' he said.

He said the Speaker's stand in the fax controversy too had shown why he could not be trusted to act impartially in the House. While refusing to present the fax before the Court when requested to do so, he had maintained that it was an Assembly document. "However, for a paper to become an Assembly document, it has to be placed on the table of the House. The Assembly was in session then. But the fax issue was not even mentioned by him in the House,'' Mr. Balakrishnan said.

He noted that, while cutting short the previous Assembly session by a few days, the Chief Minister had assured the Business Advisory Committee of the House that another session would be convened in November exclusively to take up legislative business.

``The Cabinet is holding its weekly meeting tomorrow. It can decide on having an Assembly session in November as promised to the Business Advisory Committee,'' he said.

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