Thiruvananthapuram | The Budget session of Kerala Assembly, scheduled to begin here on March 6 with the Governor’s address, is likely to be stormy with CPI(M)-led LDF Opposition determined to take on the government on a host of issues including the bar bribery and solar scams. Indicating that budget presentation would not be a smooth affair for Finance Minister K M Mani, against whom an FIR had been registered in the bar bribery scam, LDF had recently reiterated its demand for his resignation and made it clear that it would not allow him to present the budget on March 13.
Unfazed by the criticism, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, has made it clear that UDF was ready to take on LDF in the assembly, stating that Mani would present the state budget for 2014-15, as he is the finance minister. A meeting of UDF leaders would be held next week to work out plans to face the LDF protest in the House against Mani, party sources said. The bar bribery case pertains to the allegations raised by a bar hotel owner that Mani had taken bribe for taking a favourable decision on bar hotels which were closed as part of the government’s new liquor policy.
Governor Justice P Sathasivam is expected to roll out the policies of the UDF government that moves into its fifth year in office after assuming power in 2011 dislodging the left front. LDF would also target the government on the solar scam that rocked the last session, armed with evidence produced before the government appointed Judicial Commission probing it.
CPI-M State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had recently demanded resignation of the Chief Minister to facilitate independent functioning of the Commission. The scam pertains to duping of large number of people of huge sums of money allegedly by Saritha Nair and Biju Radhakrishnan after promising them solar power applications. It took a political turn after the arrest of an aide of Chandy for his alleged links with the fraudsters.
Balakrishnan has said it was the firm opinion of CPI-M and LDF that Mani should not present the budget in the assembly since an FIR has been registered against Mani. To counter LDF attack, UDF is all set take advantage of CPI-M veteran and State Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan’s ‘isolation’ in the party after he challenged the party leadership at the recently concluded Party State Conference. However, the 91-year-old leader has said he would be in the forefront to fight against ‘corruption’ in the UDF government. The session is scheduled to end on April 6.