Updated: January 21, 2021 5:44:22 pm
A no-trust motion brought by the Congress-led UDF against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan citing allegations against him in the dollar smuggling case and over extravagance in construction activities taken up in the House complex was dismissed by the state Assembly Thursday. The motion was not put to vote as the UDF MLAs staged a walkout from the Assembly.
The motion seeking the removal of the Speaker was moved by M Ummer, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLA from Manjeri. He said the allegations surrounding the Speaker in connection with the dollar smuggling case and his purported close links with Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the gold smuggling case, have tarnished the dignity of the House.
The discussion on the no-trust motion, which involved strident speeches from both ruling and Opposition MLAs in the course of nearly four hours, began after the Speaker vacated his chair and sat next to Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. V Sasi, deputy speaker of the Assembly, chaired the proceedings.
“Has there been any instance in the history of the Kerala Assembly where a Speaker is associated with smuggling allegations? Has any Speaker been accused of being friends with a smuggler? His relations with people accused of anti-national activities are under a shade of doubt. We brought this motion precisely because the Speaker has engaged in activities that do not fit the decency of the chair,” Chennithala argued in his speech.
Defending the Speaker, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the no-trust motion exposed the ‘bankruptcy’ of the Opposition in the state. “The Speaker should not have had to face this motion and therefore it should be dismissed,” he said.
In his response at the end of the discussion, Sreeramakrishnan termed the Opposition’s allegations as baseless rumours founded on malicious newspaper reports. He said the Opposition turned on him as it has failed to diminish the stature of the government.
“As the Speaker, I could have adopted a stand to avoid a discussion on a motion like this. But I wanted this discussion to happen. In an atmosphere in this country where voices of dissent are brought down, this is a fantastic day for the Kerala Assembly to celebrate voices of dissent,” he said.
“I have not done any wrong. And I will not bow down my head even an inch,” he added.
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