Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], January 21 (ANI): The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) on Thursday staged a walkout from the Kerala assembly after it rejected a resolution to remove Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan.
The resolution was moved by UDF MLA M Ummer.
The walkout by the Opposition came immediately after Sreeramakrishnan's reply in which he countered the Opposition's charges. He lashed out at the Opposition and termed the resolution as an "immature" move.
"If needed, as Speaker, I could have rejected the resolution 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 dissent is not allowed. For the first time in the country, the Opposition brought a resolution to remove Speaker based on media speculation. The Opposition and its leaders are really immature to move such resolution," he said.
A total of 14 legislators from the ruling and the Opposition benches spoke at the discussion.
Supporting the resolution to remove Speaker, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala 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, such charges like the association with gold smugglers have come out."
Joining the discussion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the resolution against Speaker showed how 'pauper' opposition is when it comes to bringing in a proper resolution.
"The 164 statements given by gold smuggling accused in court has not come out yet. From all these months, the investigation agency was questioning this accused. How can 164 statements given by such an accused be trusted? The investigation agencies are deliberately trying to depict the Kerala Assembly speaker in poor light. This practice is wrong and it is unfortunate that the Opposition supporting it," he said.
The lone BJP MLA in Kerala Assembly O Rajagopal supporting the resolution said that the Speaker should be a role model for all 140 members in Kerala Assembly.
"But here the Speaker is accused of his association with smugglers, which is unfortunate. It is the duty of those who hold public office to keep a distance from those who are involved in anti-national activities, instead here they are helping them."
After Sreeramakrishnan gave his reply the UDF led by Ramesh Chennithala staged a walkout from the assembly. Following this, the deputy speaker who was on the chair rejected the motion. (ANI)