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Kerala Assembly's Budget session begins, Opposition boycotts Governor's address
Thiruvananthapuram, January 8, 2021
Opposition members in the Kerala Assembly boycotted Governor Arif Mohammad Khan's "policy address" and walked out on Friday, the first day of the Budget session, and later sat on a protest at the Assembly's entry gate.
While the Governor was addressing the House, the Opposition raised slogans against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The Governor tried to pacify the opposition MLAs thrice and urged them to allow him to fulfil his constitutional responsibility of delivering the policy address.
However, the MLAs of the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress walked out of the House, except lone BJP MLA O Rajagopal who remained seated throughout the Governor's speech.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media outside the Assembly: "We are performing the Opposition's duty. It is our responsibility towards the public. Speaker Sreeramakrishnan has put a blot on the House by interfering with a central agency's work. We cannot just sit and watch."
In his address that went on for two hours and 10 minutes, Khan read out the LDF government's policy against the three new Central farm laws, maintaining that the "farm laws are for the corporates and a consumer state like Kerala will have to bear their brunt".
There were reports that the Governor may not read out the policy address to criticise the farm laws but that did not happen.
The Governor said that the state had worked overtime during the coronavirus pandemic and that the government had delivered free kits to each and every household during this period.
He also said that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF)government would provide title deeds to 20,000 landless persons in the southern state.
A scathing attack on central agencies was made in the state's policy statement, with the Governor maintaining that the actions of these agencies had resulted in a "demoralising effect on honest and hardworking officers".
He also claimed that it had led to impediments in the implementation of the flagship projects of the Vijayan government.