Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition party Congress has staged a protest in the Assembly claiming that Pinarayi Vijayan’s speech extended beyond the allowed time. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the chief minister spoke for 45 minutes, which is unusual and also said that this is contrary to the Assembly procedures. Pinarayi Vijayan replied that he spoke for 45 minutes because of his health condition. 

Chennithala hit back at Vijayan by saying that Assembly is not the place to show the chief minister’s health. Vijayan had given the replies together to all questions related to Kerala floods. This ignited arguments from the opposition and Chennithala alleged that Vijayan’s long speech violated other members’ rights. 

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However, the speaker pointed that when the Assembly was informed earlier about clubbing the questions, no one had opposed it. The opposition protested by raising placards and shouted slogans.

In the meantime, the chief minister alleged that the opposition is trying to break the unity of Kerala. He also said that the central government has given Rs 600 crore for flood relief and he does not expect any more help from the Centre.

MLAs PC George and O Rajagopal reached the Assembly on Wednesday wearing traditional black clothes in support of Ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala. PC George had always been in the forefront fighting against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women’s entry at Sabarimala.

“I am wearing black just for today. However, a decision about more protests will be discussed in the party meet,” said PC George.

Meanwhile, the opposition has staged an uproar in the Assembly over Sabarimala issue. Opposition members protested by showing placards at 9 AM when the question-answer session started in the Assembly. 

The opposition was demanding to withdraw section 144 at Sabarimala during chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s speech. They did not withdraw from the protest though the speaker clarified that Sabarimala issue can be discussed later, after the question-answer session.