A host of controversies ranging from the mass felling of rosewood trees, increasing COVID cases and gold smuggling case to a minister facing charges of trying to settle a sexual harassment case are likely to be raked up by the opposition in the second session of the 15th Kerala Assembly when it commences here on Thursday. Unlike the first session, which met soon after the second Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power with a historic victory in the April 6 polls, the opposition Congress-led UDF has enough issues in their kitty this time to grill the ruling front.
Opposition leader V D Satheesan already made it clear that Forest Minster A K Saseenndran, who is being accused of trying to settle the sexual harassment case involving a party member in Kollam, should not be there in the House when the it meets on Thursday. Saseendran, who met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at his official residence here and appraised him the issue, however, did not react to the opposition’s demand.
A Vijayaraghavan, convener of Left Democratic Front (LDF), said his party or the state government has not taken a decision yet as they do not have the complete details regarding the matter. Interestingly,Saseendran had to resign as transport minister from the first Vijayan government, in the wake of sleazetalk allegations against him.
The government is also likely to face opposition heat over an alleged 100-crore loan fraud reported in a ruling CPI(M)-controlled co-operative bank in Thrissur, the alleged link of a Kannur-based gold smuggling syndicate with the Marxist party and its leaders and the stepping back of the apparel major Kitex Group from the state. However, the differences cropped up in the opposition front over the restructuring of the ratio for minority student scholarships may give the ruling benches ammunition to strike back.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker M B Rajesh said the main thrust of the 20-day-long session would be the voting on demand for grants in the 2021-22 budget. The reports, tabled by the Subject Committees, would be taken up and the private members’ bills would be considered during the period, he said here on Tuesday.
For debate and voting on the supplementary demands for grants, two days would be set aside, he said, adding that two Financial Bills would also be considered during the session. After completing the scheduled business, the House would be adjourned sine die on August 18, the speaker added.
Stating that the entire House proceedings would be held adhering to COVID-19 protocols, Rajesh also said facilities for antigen/RT-PCR tests and vaccination would be arranged for the legislators at the Assembly complex as part of the session.