Oppn Boycotts Governor's Policy Address in Kerala Assembly, Seeks Speaker's Resignation
File photo of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan.
The Congress-led UDF opposition on Friday boycotted Governor Arif Mohammad Khan's policy address in the Kerala Assembly on the first day of the budget session, demanding the resignation of Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan who was facing allegations in connection with the dollar smuggling case. The opposition legislators, who came with banners and posters, raised slogans against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Speaker as Khan arrived to deliver his customary address.
Despite sloganeering, the Governor began his speech on time detailing the achievements and performances of the lone Left government in the country in its over four and half years' tenure. As the sloganeering continued, a visibly irritated Khan asked the opposition members three times to allow him to fulfill his constitutional duty, but his plea fell on deaf ears.
"I am doing my constitutional duty…it is expected that no obstruction will be created while the Governor is performing constitutional duties. You have already raised enough slogans… Don't interrupt me," the Governor told the opposition. Though Opposition Leader Ramesh stood up and tried to speak in between, the Governor did not yield to his demand.
The protesting opposition legislators later walked out of the Assembly hall and staged a sit-in at its portal, raising slogans and displaying banners and posters. Meanwhile, the Governor, who continued his speech, said the LDF government has been facing challenges ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Detailing various pro-people measures taken by the Vijayan government, the Governor said the state started community kitchens for the needy to ensure that none went hungry during the lockdown, ensured that treatment for Covid- 19 is being given free, and kits are being distributed to all ration cardholders. Kerala was also the first state to announce a pandemic relief package of Rs 20,000 crore.
The southern state also declared the floor price of 16 vegetables produced in the state, he said. Almost 9 percent of the state's population is living abroad and with nearly six lakh immigrants returning due to the impact of COVID19, it will hamper the flow of remittances, causing a severe impact on the state's economy, he said.