Kerala assembly today witnessed noisy scenes over the alleged leakage of budget with Congress led UDF Opposition demanding resignation of Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac, even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured that cabinet would take an appropriate decision on the matter.
Taking up the alleged leakage of budget presented by Isaac on March 3 as an adjournment motion, UDF members wanted Isaac’s resignation for alleged violation of oath of office and secrecy.
Replying to the notice, Isaac maintained that budget papers had not been leaked, but admitted that highlights, used to be given to media after budget presentation, got leaked “inadvertently” before presentation of the budget was over.
“There was no wilful intention and there is no loss to the government or unlawful gain to anyone”, he said, adding there were no tax proposals also.
However not satisfied with the reply, opposition members continued raising slogans and rushed to the well of the House.
As the protest continued Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan adjourned the House briefly and called the Front leaders for a meeting to work out a solution for smooth functioning of the assembly.
Later, when the House reassembled, Vijayan made a statement that Chief Secretary had been asked to file a detailed report and it would be placed before the cabinet, after which appropriate action will be taken.
Earlier, while intervening in the matter, Vijayan rejected the opposition charges and said that there was no violation.
Defending the Finance Minister, Vijayan said there was also no lapse on the part of Isaac as per the interim report of Chief Secretary, who had been asked to enquire the matter.
He also described the opposition protest as a “storm in a tea cup”.
However, there had been some “carelessness” on the part of an official in the Finance Minister’s office, Vijayan said quoting Chief Secretary’s report.
“The official had been shifted”, Vijayan said, adding, the demand for Isaac’s resignation was only a smokescreen to take away the sheen from the people friendly budget”.
Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said taking into consideration various issues being faced by the state including drought and price rise, they were keen to participate in the debate and cooperate with the Speaker to ensure the House’s smooth functioning.
Watch here for our latest video update by Rifat Jawaid editor-in-chief, Janta ka Reporter.
(With inputs from PTI)