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13th Kerala Legislative Assembly: Eventful and Unprecedented

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13th Kerala Legislative Assembly: Eventful and Unprecedented
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Curtain fell on the 13th Kerala Legislative Assembly on Wednesday with the final session ending on a stormy note as the Opposition continued disrupting the proceedings demanding the resignation of the ‘tainted and corrupt’ ministers over the much controversial solar and bar bribery scams.

The session being the last one of the 13th state assembly before it heads for polls later this year was significant. The opposition members have been hindering the proceedings and protesting in the house targeting Chief minister Oommen Chandy and his ministers. The assembly proceedings haven’t been handled with such unprecedented laxity earlier. The CM in his farewell speech in the house said that he didn’t want to remember the session anymore stating that the allegations by the opposition were baseless and that they should be showing some tolerance to hear his reply. He added that the present situations would bring shame to the people of the state. It’s impossible to more accurately portray the democratic decay in the current state legislative assembly. The present assembly that came into existence on May 14, 2011 sat only for 213 days. After 1982, it’s the only time an assembly was held for the least number of days. The sessions witnessed the opposition uproar on almost all days with the proceedings disrupted by commotion, boycott, negligence as well as lack of interest while presenting the bills. The question answer sessions were filled with chaos as well. The assembly sessions were stalled 87 times with as many as 180 walkouts and boycotts. It failed in executing its most important responsibility of law making as well. Only 144 bills including the amendments to important laws such as the Kerala State Right to Service Act, Kerala official Languages Act, which makes Malayalam the official language of the state and the law to curb real estate exploitation, were passed. While bills were passed without any careful scrutiny due to the chaos and protests, the assembly also witnessed several shortcomings in the bills after they were passed to law later amending them.

The 16th and concluding session saw the longest budget presentation and the longest Governor’s address in the history of Kerala assembly. The brief session was eventful witnessing various political dramas such as MLA P C George getting disqualified from the House as per the provisions of Anti-Defection law, resignation of R Selvaraj from the Kerala Assembly following by his shifting allegiance, contesting and winning the by-elections, imprisonment of M V Jayarajan in the Contempt of Court case, the resignation of Kovoor Kunjumon MLA, RSP losing Front and the demise of Speaker G Karthikeyan and Minister T M Jacob during the tenure followed by the subsequent entry of their children into the assembly. The tenure of UDF government in Kerala has been highly controversial with several high profile scams surrounding the CM and his ministers and inviting widespread uproar. The tenure of Chandy government would be gauged in history for politically surviving the numerous storms that came its way. Despite the shocking allegations against CM and his ministers both on the ruling as well as the opposition side, corruption scandals and illicit relations with females plaguing the assembly sessions leading to the resignation of two prominent ministers, the present government had resisted it all continuing to stay in power. March 13, 2015 would be marked as a ‘black day’ in the history of Kerala assembly due to the violence that rocked the sessions with MLAs and watch and ward staff engaging in scuffle. The police case and investigations that followed was unprecedented and despicable. People excluding the politicians are aware that the predicament of the assembly would lead to their distrust in democracy. The pathetic ‘performances’ of the politicians and their contemptible uproar was rampantly ridiculed on the social media by the youth. The fact that more serious discourses and debates were held on the social media than in the assembly is an instance of the politicians failing to realize the changed times. The assembly should therefore serve its purpose and reinforce the democracy as well as the trust of the people in the system.

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