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Five LDF MLAs suspended; House adjourns amidst protest

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Five LDF MLAs suspended; House adjourns amidst protest
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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly Monday suspended five CPI(M)-led LDF Opposition MLAs till the end of the session for allegedly ransacking the Speaker's podium on the budget day on March 13 when their protest against Finance Minister K M Mani, facing corruption charges, turned violent.

A resolution in this regard, moved by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, was passed by the House amidst strong protests from Opposition benches and the House adjourned till March 23.

The suspended MLAs are E P Jayarajan, V Sivankutty, K Kunjahmed (all CPI-M), K T Jaleel (LDF IND) and K Ajit (CPI).

Moving the resolution, Chandy said "unprecedented" incidents on March 13 had brought disgrace to the state. The LDF MLAs "trespassed" to the Speaker's dais and destroyed mike system, computer and chair and threw away the files.

In a democracy, restraint needs to be shown even during protest and the opposition MLAs crossed the limits, he said, adding, LDF was now trying to blame ruling MLAs for the violence.

Referring to the opposition charge of manhandling women MLAs by ruling front, Chandy said the LDF had not given a complaint in this regard to the Speaker in writing. "This is a matter they have brought now to divert the attention from their actions".

He also made it clear that no action will be taken against UDF MLAs who have "not done anything wrong."

In the present peculiar circumstances, the discussion on budget should be cut short and limited to a day, Chandy said and wanted Speaker N Sakthan to complete the proceedings of passing of the budget on March 23, when the House will meet next.

Though the Speaker tried to break the deadlock between the two fronts over the March 13 ruckus in the House by convening a meeting of party floor leaders, it failed to arrive at a consensus.

The meeting was convened in view of Chandy's resolution to suspend the MLAs and the opposition move to seek leave for an adjournment motion on the alleged manhandling of LDF women MLAs by UDF members.

Describing the resolution to suspend LDF MLAs as "unilateral", opposition leader V S Achuthanandan alleged that Labour Minister Shibu Baby John and Congess MLAs-- Shivadasan Nair, Dominic Presentation and M A Wahid had insulted the women MLAs.

He said the opposition was not responsible for the happenings on the budget day as they had already warned that Chief Minister and Mani would be accountable for any consequences that might arise if Mani presents the budget.

Later, on the request from Chandy, some of the remarks made by Achutanandan were expunged from assembly proceedings by the Speaker.
Earlier, when the House assembled, the Speaker said "we all should hang our head in shame and tender our apology to the people for the violence in the assembly. The incidents which never should have happened, had happened. We have shamed ourselves in front of the world. We need to hang our heads in shame. Whole world saw the happenings in the House on March 13. We are answerable for the incidents on the black day, which is being discussed the world over".

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