The fifth session of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly was adjourned for the day on Monday, June 27, after the opposition members started shouting slogans demanding action in connection with the recent vandalism of Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad office allegedly by Student Federation of India (SFI) activists. The session was initially adjourned just as the Question Hour began at 9 am, and the legislators reconvened at 10 am. This came amidst continuing sloganeering by opposition members, some wearing black shirts, who raised placards and banners against issues including the recent vandalism and the gold smuggling allegations against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Opposition paused their agitation for a few minutes when Speaker MB Rajesh was reading out obituaries of eight former MLAs, including M P Govindan Nair, K Sankara Narayanan, KG Kunjikrishna Pillai, S Thyagarajan and P Gopalakrishnan, who had passed away in the last few months. Soon after this, though, the protesting MLAs entered the well of the House and waved placards and banners in front of the Speaker's dais and shouted slogans demanding an apology from the CM for the vandalism of Rahul Gandhi's office, as well as action against the SFI members accused of carrying out the attacks.
The protesting opposition MLAs did not stop their sloganeering even after the Speaker said he was going to take up the notice tabled by Congress MLA T Siddique. Subsequently, the Speaker, amidst the continuing protests, allowed the tabling of the reports of the various assembly committees by the ministers heading the same and thereafter, adjourned the House for the day at 10.24 AM. He said that the session would reconvene on Tuesday morning.
After the session was adjourned, opposition members walked out of the Assembly waving placards and carrying a black banner which termed the vandalising of Gandhi's office as barbaric. They also chanted slogans of protest as they walked out of the Assembly premises.
Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly gates, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly VD Satheesan said that the Congress-led UDF had given a notice to discuss the attack on Rahul Gandhi's office, and raised slogans regarding the same in the House. However, the ruling LDF tried to â€śsuppress the voice of the oppositionâ€ť and also raised slogans of their own which were provocative in nature, which led to the further disruption of the House proceedings, he alleged.
Satheesan further alleged that the attack on Rahul Gandhi's office was carried out with the active knowledge of the Chief Minister's Office and under the leadership of a former staff member of state Health Minister Veena George. George's former staff member, though removed from office, was still not an accused in the case registered in connection with vandalising Rahul Gandhi's office, he contended.
The LoP also alleged that the attack was carried out to appease the Sangh Parivar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, who want to oust Gandhi from Wayanad, to escape central investigation agencies in the gold smuggling case.
Satheesan said that the opposition was prepared to move forward with its protests against the vandalism incident as well as in relation to the allegations against the CM. As the Question Hour of the Assembly session commenced at 9 AM, the opposition began thumping the tables and then, as the first question was being answered, they started shouting slogans and raised placards and banners against the vandalism of Gandhi's office.
When opposition members began shouting slogans during the Question Hour, the Speaker urged them several times to refrain from disrupting the proceedings of the House, but the protesting MLAs did not pay heed to him. He also asked the opposition members to sit down and not wave placards and banners as it was a violation of House protocols and discipline, but they disregarded that too.
The Speaker further said that their notice for adjournment was before him for consideration, but the opposition members continued shouting slogans, like "SFI goondaism."
As the opposition continued to disregard the Speaker's requests, it resulted in a shouting match between them and the LDF MLAs who raised slogans hailing CM Vijayan's leadership. As the opposition was not willing to quieten down despite his repeated urgings, the Speaker adjourned the session temporarily.
The fifth session was expected to take a turbulent turn as the opposition was expected to raise several contentious issues, including the vandalism incident, the recent allegations against Chief Minister Vijayan by gold-smuggling accused Swapna Suresh and others.
The one-month-long session was being convened mainly to discuss and pass the demands for grants for the financial year 2022-23. However, the Congress-led UDF had made it clear that they would raise the ongoing controversies in the House.
Meanwhile, the opening day also witnessed tumultuous scenes as the TV news channels were asked not to cover the Question Hour live, prompting the opposition to cry foul. The TV media were told to use the video output provided by the Information and Public Relations Department.
However, the Speaker's office later clarified that it was an error of communication between the Watch and Ward staff. Strict protocols were also introduced that the media personnel will have to "stick to only their area and should not hang around in front of the Minister's offices and also the office of the Leader of Opposition".
While the TV media were told to use the video output provided by the Information and Public Relations Department, not a single visual of the protests by the Congress-led Opposition were shown.