Kerala government flays opposition unruliness

Thiruvananthapuram, April 3 (IANS) The Oommen Chandy government Wednesday flayed the Left opposition for its “unruly behaviour” on the floor of the Kerala assembly.

Addressing reporters after the day’s session ended in chaos, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs K.C. Joseph said all levels of decency and etiquette were being flouted by the Left opposition.

“The assembly functions according to the rules of procedure, precedence and convention… and the Left opposition should fall in line so that the proceedings of the house pass peacefully,” said Joseph.

“As per the procedures, submissions in the house come up after the calling attention motions. But today, they wanted a submission to be moved by Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan immediately after Question Hour.

“The speaker and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy pointed out that he can put up his submission at the appropriate time, and it would be answered by the chief minister. But they were adamant that the submission be taken up first. The house was adjourned for a brief while, and when it reassembled, they created a ruckus forcing the speaker to rush through the listed business of the day and adjourn the house,” Joseph said.

Speaker G. Karthikeyan did his best to restore order.

“I can function only as per procedure. If you were so particular, you could have sought leave for an adjournment motion and it would have been taken first after Question Hour. Please do not blame me for your bad strategy and poor floor management,” an angry Karthikeyan told the Left opposition.

Achuthanandan later told reporters that Chandy was running away from the real issue of how he cheated the estranged wife of his former cabinet colleague, K.B. Ganesh Kumar. He said this was the submission which was not taken up.

“Chandy misused his official residence to conspire against a hapless lady who, according to her, was tormented by her minister husband for 16 long years. When she came to make a complaint of harassment to Chandy, he did nothing and instead put her in the dock,” Achuthanandan said.

State Forests Minister Ganesh Kumar, 46, submitted his resignation to Chandy late Monday night after his estranged wife, Yamini Thankachi, accused him of domestic violence. She also lodged a complaint with the police.

“Chandy used his official residence to plot against Thankachy, who now has a case against her lodged by Kumar. While action should have been taken against Kumar to protect the right of the woman, she now finds herself in dire straits. Chandy should quit,” Achuthanandan said.

The Crime Branch has been asked to probe the cases that have been registered against the former minister — who, in turn, has charged his wife with assault.

Kumar, the only member in the assembly from the Kerala Congress (B), a minor partner in the United Democratic Front government, first made scandalous news when a local newspaper reported that a minister had been beaten up by his lover’s wife. Although the newspaper did not divulge his identity, the chief whip of the government, P.C. George, made a statement that the minister in question was Kumar.

The government, with a slim three-member majority in the 140-seat house, has been rocked by the scandal.

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