The Kerala Assembly on Thursday witnessed an intense verbal duel between members of the ruling LDF and opposition UDF over the alleged ”political patronage” to the drug mafia in the state.
The Congress-led opposition staged a walkout in protest after Speaker A N Shamseer denied permission to take up the matter for discussion during zero hour.
While seeking leave for the adjournment motion, Mathew Kuzhalnadan (Congress), specifically mentioned about the recent seizure of over a crore rupee-worth banned tobacco products in Alappuzha district.
He alleged that the ruling CPI (M) was trying to sabotage the investigation as its local leader, who is also its municipal councillor, was involved in the case.
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Launching a scathing attack against the ruling front, Kuzhalnadan even alleged that a section of leaders of the Marxist party were climbing the steps of higher party posts through the influence of the money amassed by the drug mafia.
He further charged that several leaders of the CPI(M), SFI and DYFI had been nabbed as accused in drug cases in Kerala recently but what the state witnessed was that the government was giving them all support and protection.
”This motion is to expose the CPI(M)’s political patronage (to the drug mafia),” he told the House.
Provoked by Kuzhalnadan’s remarks targeting CPI(M) on the issue, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reminded the Congress MLA that there should be a limit for everything.
”Do you think that you can say any ridiculous things here? The House cannot be made a platform to say anything against a party like CPI(M). There should be a limit for everything,” Vijayan warned Kuzhalnadan.
This prompted the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan to intervene and say that the party legislator raised charges against ruling party leaders with the support of ample evidence.
He urged the CPI(M) to stop giving alleged political patronage to the drug mafia and wanted the government to book the real powers behind the trading of narcotics in the state.
Satheesan also said the opposition would not support the government’s anti-drug campaign which, according to him, was just an eyewash.
Rejecting the opposition’s allegations, Excise Minister M B Rajesh said there was no evidence to make the local party leader an accused in the case of the seizure of banned tobacco products in Karunagappally in Alappuzha.
The LDF government in the state would never interfere in any case or influence the investigators to protect the accused, the minister claimed.
”We can make a person accused in a case only if there is any evidence against him. No one can be made an accused because the opposition and the media who supports allege so,” Rajesh said in his reply.
Police have already arrested the accused in the case and the investigation is going on, the minister added.
Based on the minister’s reply, the Speaker rejected leave for the motion following which UDF members staged a walkout in the Assembly.