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Budget presented in Kerala amid ruckus in Assembly

Date 13-March-2015
Subject Budget presented in Kerala amid ruckus in Assembly

Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani on Friday presented the 13th state budget amid ruckus created by members of the Left opposition who are demanding his resignation.

They alleged that he took a bribe of Rs.1 crore to reopen the closed down bars in the state.

Members of the opposition damaged Speaker N. Sakthan’s chair and computer as the house assembled for the day’s proceedings on Friday. The speaker as well as the finance minister were unable to enter the floor of the assembly and had to retreat to their cabins.

Members of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) came to Mr. Mani’s rescue and escorted him to this seat. He tabled the budget amid high drama.

Outside the assembly complex, the Left and the youth wing of the BJP continued their protest since last evening, pressing for Mr. Mani to step down.

LDF, BJYM activists lay siege to Kerala Assembly

Hundreds of activists of the LDF and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha have converged around the Kerala Assembly Complex in Thiruvananthapuram as part of a protest siege to prevent Finance Minister K.M. Mani from presenting the State budget on Friday over the bar bribery issue.

Though a high-level security was in place and barricades had been put up in the vicinity, activists began to pour in large numbers in the area since Thursday evening.

Tension mounted in Thiruvananthapuram after the opposition CPI(M)-led LDF warned the Congress-headed UDF government that they would go to any extent if Mr. Mani, facing allegations in the bar bribery case, presents the budget. However, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy made it clear in the Assembly that Mr. Mani would present the budget as he has the constitutional right for it.

Putting pressure on the ruling UDF, LDF MLAs stayed put in the Assembly complex on Thursday night as part of their plans to stop Mr. Mani from entering the House while he comes to present the budget in the morning.

Apparently fearing the blockage and siege, Mr. Mani and some of his Cabinet colleagues too stayed back inside the Assembly complex on Thursday night.

Taking up the challenge of the Opposition, Mr. Chandy maintained in the Assembly on Thursday that allegations against Mr. Mani were part of a “political conspiracy” and asserted that the Minister himself would present the budget.

Reacting to Mr. Chandy’s stand, CPI(M) veteran and Opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan said the government would have to face consequences if it let “tainted” Mr. Mani present the budget and Mr. Chandy alone would be responsible for that.

The State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had registered a case against Mr. Mani in December 2014 in connection with the allegations that he had accepted bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licences.

The allegations were levelled by Kerala state Bar Hotel Owner’s Association Working president Biju Ramesh.

Source : thehindu.com

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