Amidst unprecedented protest within and outside Kerala Assembly, Finance Minister K M Mani tabled the budget for the next fiscal. The CPI (M)-led Opposition had threatened that Mani, who is facing bribery charges in the bar licence scandal, would not be allowed to present the budget.
However, tension continued in the assembly even after Mani managed to table the budget after reading out it for a few minutes without mike. Scuffle continued among the legislators of the ruling and the opposition benches. Some of the Opposition members collapsed on the floor of the assembly in the melee. The Opposition legislators alleged that they were manhandled by the watch and ward members (security staff) of the Assembly.
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As the scuffle continued, the assembly was adjourned for the day. Mani later read out the budget details before the media in the media hall at the assembly.
Early morning, the Opposition members had created unruly scenes on the floor of the assembly in the morning in a bid to prevent Mani from entering into the assembly. They were sitting in the well of the assembly with the women legislators positioning themselves just in front of the official seat of Mani.
Around 9 am, when everyone was expecting Mani, the Opposition members rushed to a door near the dais of the Speaker, where Mani was believed to turn up. LDF legislators engaged in a scuffle with the security staff members, who stood in two lines to give a safe entry for the minister.
Trivandrum: Aerial view of opposition’s protest against Kerala FM KM Mani, outside State Assembly via Drone cam pic.twitter.com/iBDig7txU0
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 13, 2015
Trivandrum: BJP protest against Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani, outside Kerala Assembly pic.twitter.com/bJ791RLyEo
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 13, 2015
In the meantime, another section of LDF legislators stormed into the dais of the speaker and threw away the mike and his chair. Several CPI (M) legislators were seen moving within the Assembly like country goons, with their dhoti half mast (rolled up above knee). They walked over the seats and tried to jump over the cordon created by the security staff.
While the Opposition concentrated on one particular door near the speaker’s dais, Mani entered into the hall through another door accompanied by cabinet colleagues, ruling front legislators and security staff.
Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said 20 Opposition legislators were injured in the attack by security staff and ruling front members during the mayhem at the Assembly.
Achuthanandan said the Opposition will not accept the Budget presentation, which was carried out without meeting the mandatory procedure. “The speaker was not present in the dais. He had given some gestures to the minister to present the Budget. We will not accept this Budget. The LDF will continue the agitation against Mani,” said VS.
He said five female legislators of the Opposition were manhandled by male legislators of the ruling front while they were laying a siege to the Speaker’s chamber.
Mani and other ministers had stayed at the Assembly last night as the Opposition and BJP’s youth wing Yuva Morcha had threatened to prevent Mani from entering into the assembly.
Mani stood in one of the rear rows where ruling legislators and security staff took care of his protection from violent Opposition members. In the meantime, Speaker N Shakthan also managed to enter into the assembly and Mani started reading the budget at 9.5 am. Mani stood within a jacket of ruling legislators and security staff, Mani read out the budget for a few minutes and then declared that he was presenting the budget for the next fiscal in the assembly.
After tabling the budget, ruling members celebrated their victory over the Opposition strategy. They distributed ladoo among themselves and waved the sweets at the Opposition members, particularly at Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.
Outside the Assembly, the LDF and the Yuva Morcha had laid a siege to the Assembly. As the information reached that Mani tabled the budget, the agitators outside the assembly turned violent in many parts of the city. Police had to burst tear gas shells to disperse the mob. A few policemen were injured in stone pelting.