Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Assembly budget session, which began on Wednesday morning, witnessed dramatic scenes as Congress-led UDF MLAs stood in the House with anti-CAA posters and raised 'governor, go back' slogans, following which the watch and ward personnel had to clear the way
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan could be seen folding his hands and saying 'thank you' to the protesting legislators with CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan by his side. The governor had to be escorted to the dias with the help of the watch and ward personnel, who stood at the chair while Khan delivered his speech.
As soon as the governor reached the dias, the national anthem was played but the opposition members gathered at the well of the House and started the 'Governor go back' slogans soon after it's completion.
When Khan began his policy address, the opposition members walked out of the assembly hall raising slogans. They then sat on a dharna at the gate.
Meanwhile, the governor while reading the address stated he disagrees with the part that mentions about CAA but will read this to honour the CM's wish.
"I am going to read this paragraph because the CM wants me to read this. Also, I hold the view that this does not come under policy or programme. The chief minister himself said this is the view of the government. I disagree but to honour his wish, I am reading out this paragraph," he said.
Khan then read out the debatable paragraph: "Our Citizenship can never be on the basis of religion as this goes against the grain of secularism, which is part of the basic structure of our constitution. The august body unanimously passed a resolution requesting the central government to abrogate the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, which my government believes goes against the cardinal principles underlying our constitution. Pursuant to this? My government has filed an Original suit before the Hon'ble Supreme Court invoking provisions of Article 131 of the Constitution."
The next paragraph read: "Strong states and strong centre are pillars of our federalism. The voice of genuine apprehension of the states need to be considered by the central government in the right spirit, keeping broad national interest in mind , particularly when constitutional values are involved and there are widespread anxieties and apprehensions among a large number of our citizenry."
Opposition leader Ramesh chennithala said that the protest was necessary because the governor, forgetting his position, was criticising CAA and ridiculing the assembly. "Khan says assembly is wasting time and money. He has ridiculed and insulted the members of the House who have unanimously passed the resolution. The views, anger, anguish of the people are represented by the representatives in the House," Chennithala said.
He alleged that the governemt and governor had become bhai-bhai (brothers) because the CM wanted to have a truce with the central government and the BJP. He added that the CPIM and state government were diluting the view on CAA. The Opposition stated that their protest will continue in the coming days in the strongest possible way.
Over the last few weeks Kerala has been witnessing a stand-off between the governor and the state government with the Khan criticising the anti-CAA resolution passed by the Assembly and petition filed by the government against Citizenship Amendment Act in the Supreme Court.
Putting the CPM-led government in a tight spot, the Congress had given notice for resolution against the governor, and mounted pressure on the government by alleging that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had not yet openly spoken against Khan owing to a secret pact with the BJP government at the Centre.