Thiruvananthapuram | Facing Opposition heat, the Kerala government today rescheduled to June 29 the full fledged budget session of the assembly which began today in view of the June 27 Aruvikara bypoll and adjourned the house to meet again on that day.
A decision in this regard was taken at the business advisory committee meeting amid the CPI(M)-led LDF protest. The house also passed a resolution, moved by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, to reschedule the session calender.
CPI(M) veteran and Oppposition leader V S Achuthanandan expressed LDF’s opposition to the government move.
Speaking to reporters outside the assembly, CPI house leader C Divakaran said government was ‘running away’ as it was afraid to face corruption charges in the bar bribery scam.
The bypoll was necessiated following the death of former Speaker G Karthikeyan, who represented the constituency. K Sabarinath, son of Karthikeyan is the UDF candidate.
Former Speaker M Vijayakumar (CPI-M) is the LDF candidate while former union minister O Rajagopal is the BJP candidate. The session was originally scheduled from June 8 to July 2 and after a short recess, from July 20 to July 30.
The session began on a stormy note this morning with LDF members protesting against Finance Minister K M Mani, facing charges of corruption in the bar bribery scam. It ended with noisy scenes on the same issue.
LDF members moved to the well of the house shouting slogans against the FM when he stood up to introduce the Kerala Ceiling on Goverment Gunarantees (Amendment)Bill, 2015.
With LDF protest continuing, Speaker N Sakthan completed the procedure of referring the Bill to subject committee and adjounred the house.
Earlier in the day during zero hour, LDF members staged a walkout, demanding the resignation of Mani and Excise Minister K Babu over the bar bribery licence scam.
Led by Achuthanandan, they staged a walkout when an adjournment motion sought to be moved by them, was disallowed.
Continuing its tirade against the government on the bar licence scam, CPI(M) Deputy leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that government was trying to ‘sabotage’ the vigilance probe in the case.
Replying to the notice, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala refuted the charge and said the probe against Mani, against whom an FIR has been registered, was reaching its final stage.
The report will be filed in the court as and when the probe is over following all legal and procedures, he said. Vigilance is conducting the investigation impartially and government has not interfered in the probe, he asserted.
Countering the opposition charge that vigilance was trying to give a clean chit to Mani, he said the investigating agency could take action only on the basis of evidence. It cannot take steps just to satisfy the opposition.
The preliminary investigation against Babu was also in the final stages, he said.
Mani,chief of Kerala Congress(M),third largest partner in Congress-led ruling UDF with nine MLAs, said the opposition move based on the charges of a bar hotel owner Biju Ramesh was politically motivated. There is no truth in it, he said.
Slamming the opposition for attacking the government based on the charges of bar hotel owners, Babu said it was part of a ‘conspiracy’ to pull down the UDF government.
LDF members came to the House with placards and banners, demanding resignation of Mani and Babu.
The UDF government has been under attack ever since Biju Ramesh, working president of Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association, charged in November last that Mani had accepted a Rs one crore bribe from the association.
Later he also alleged that the association also paid bribe of Rs 10 crore to Babu.
Balakrishnan alleged that the attempt to protect Mani was to save the ministry itself as the KC-M leader had threatened to pull out if a chargesheet was filed against him.
The House had witnessed unprecedented bedlam on March 13 with LDF demanding Mani’s resignation over the bar bribery licence scam when he presented the budget.
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