Kerala legislators go berserk as budget presented in assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala assembly witnessed unruly scenes today as members of the Left opposition broke the speaker’s chair and the electronic equipment. Finance Minister K.M. Mani tabled the 13the state budget amid the ruckus.

The finance minister had to be escorted by the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and a huge battery of Watch and Ward Staff so that he could read out the budget.

Trouble has been brewing since Thursday afternoon when all the Left legislators stayed back for the night to ensure that Mani is not allowed to enter the assembly. They have been accusing him of taking a bribe of Rs.1 crore to reopen the closed down bars in the state and have demanded his resignation.

Mani chose to remain in the assembly cabin for the night.

On Friday morning, the atmosphere was tense as angry Left legislators, prevented Mani from entering the assembly.

Ahead of the scheduled 9 a.m start of the proceedings, a group of protesters stopped Speaker N. Sakthan from taking his seat.

Ugly scenes were seen in the assembly when the Left legislators threw out the speaker’s chair, pulled out his computer and all the electronic equipment was thrown away.

After a while, Mani was seen escorted to the floor of the assembly by a group of UDF legislators and security staff. But as he began reading out the budget, the opposition Left legislators, including six women MLAs, barged towards him. Their attempt to obstruct the proceeding was thwarted by the security staff and in the melee a scuffle broke out.

A few minutes later, Mani tabled the budget.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy witnessed the ruckus helplessly. Three Left opposition legislators were given preliminary first aid.

Outside the assembly complex, supporters of the youth wing of the CPI-M and the BJP continued their protest. As word of trouble in the floor of the assembly spread, angry party workers tried to break the barricade erected by police but they were chased away by the police using lathis and water canons.