Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition Congress staged a protest in the Kerala Assembly claiming that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s speech extended beyond the allotted time.

The 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. 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 talk about the chief minister’s health. Vijayan had replied at a stretch, to all questions related to Kerala floods. This led to arguments from the opposition and Chennithala alleged that Vijayan’s long speech violated other members’ rights.

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

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

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MLAs PC George of UDF and BJP's O Rajagopal reached the Assembly on Wednesday wearing traditional black clothes in support of Ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala. 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 George.

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

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