Unprecedented Scenes In Kerala Assembly During Budget Presentation
K M Mani, Kerala Finance Minister presents state budget in 11 minutes; Opposition goes berserk; violence and vandalism | By Yentha
On Mar 13, 2015

Trivandrum: The state budget was tabled in the state assembly by Finance Minister K M Mani. The budget was presented amid protests earlier today. Opposition leaders rushed to the well of the House refusing to allow state Mani from presenting the Budget. They claimed that Mani accepted a bribe of Rs.1 crore from bar owners.

Ruling United Democratic Front and Opposition Left Democratic Front MLAs came to blows, pushed and shoved each other. They even threw the Speaker's chair, overturned tables and shouted slogans. The Assembly witnessed violence and vandalism on an unprecedented scale as Opposition members tried to stop K M Mani’s efforts to present the budget for 2015-16 by occupying the Speaker’s podium.

Mani and the Speaker were given a separate spot in the Assembly which was heavily guarded. Mani presented the budget in the House lasting 11 minutes. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was also present during the tabling of the Budget. Three Opposition MLAs were reported to have been shifted to hospital after the incident.

Protests also erupted outside the Kerala Assembly. It is also learnt that an LDF supporter died of heart attack during police crackdown on protesters in front of the Assembly. Four LDF MLAs were apparently injured in the incident.

The police resorted to lathi-charge and repeatedly fired teargas shells and opened water cannons to disperse the violent mob, which set fire to a police vehicle and beat up several police personnel. The violence outside the House continued even after the House dispersed.

Mani along with more than 70 MLAs of the Kerala's ruling UDF have been holed up inside the Assembly for the last 20 hours. This even as Opposition leaders including V S Achuthanandan have staged a sit-in inside the Assembly hall since Thursday morning.

Hundreds of activists of LDF and Yuva Morcha have converged around the state Assembly Complex as part of a protest siege to check Mani from presenting the Budget over the bar bribery issue.

Though a high level security was placed and barricades were set up by police in the vicinity, activists began to pour in large numbers in the area since Thursday.

Tension mounted in the state capital after LDF opposition warned the Congress-headed UDF government that they would go to any extent if Mani, facing allegations in the bar bribery case, would try to present the Budget and Chandy made it clear in the Assembly that Mani himself would present the budget as he has the constitutional right for it.

Taking up the challenge of the Opposition, Chandy maintained in the Assembly that allegations against Mani were part of a "political conspiracy" and asserted that the minister himself would present the Budget.

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