Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], January 21 (ANI): Kerala Assembly on Thursday rejected a resolution moved against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan by the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF).
Before the Assembly rejected the resolution, the opposition UDF staged a walkout immediately after the reply by the Speaker.
While the Assembly session is underway, opposition parties have demanded that the Speaker of the Assembly P Sreeramakrishnan be removed over his association with gold smuggling accused.
He is the third Speaker in Kerala Assembly against whom the resolution seeking dismissal from office has been moved.
The resolution was moved by Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) party MLA, M Ummer to remove state assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-(M)) is the ruling party whereas United Democratic Front (UDF) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are among the opposition parties.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who was supporting the speaker pointed out that the members whose name has come out in the Gold smuggling case are only "accused".
He said, "164 statements have been given by Gold Smuggling accused in court. For all these months, the investigation agency is questioning the accused. How can 164 statements given by such 'accused' be trusted?"
CPI(M) leader S Sharma argued in the Assembly that the resolution should not be taken up for discussion in the State Assembly as the allegations raised against the Speaker are based on media speculations.
The opposition leaders did not agree with the statement by Sharma.
One BJP MLA in Kerala Assembly, O Rajagopal who was supporting the resolution to remove Speaker said, "A speaker should be a role model for all 140 members in Kerala Assembly. But, if the Speaker is accused of his association with smugglers, then it is unfortunate. It's the duty of those who hold this public office to keep a distance from those who are involved in anti-national activities, instead of helping them."
Opposition leader of Congress Party, Ramesh Chennithala who supported the resolution to remove Speaker said, "P Sreeramakrishnan will be the first person to hold the chair of a Speaker in the state's history who is tainted for his association with smugglers. The Assembly is the temple of democracy and against no speaker till date, such charges like having an association with gold smugglers have come out."
In the assembly, 20 minutes were allotted to the Speaker for his reply.
"If needed I could have rejected the discussion. But, I allowed it as dissent should also be accepted in a democracy. I welcome this discussion particularly at a time in our country where any form of dissent is not allowed. The opposition for the first time in the country has brought a resolution to remove Speaker based on media speculation. The opposition and opposition leader is really immature to have moved this resolution against me."
Assembly proceedings are still underway.
The Kerala gold smuggling case pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels. It had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crores smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2020. (ANI)