Five opposition UDF MLAs today began satyagrah in the assembly complex, demanding the resignation of Minister K K Shylaja over the high court’s stricture against her in connection with the appointment of members in the state child rights panel. Legislators of the Congress-led UDF V P Sajeendran, N Shamsuddin, Roji M John, Eldose Kunnappally and T V Ibrahim began the agitation at the portal of the Assembly hall. Armed with the recent court order that quashed the appointment of members to the Kerala State Commission For Protection Of Child Rights, the opposition attacked the CPI (M)-led LDF government, alleging nepotism and misuse of power by the Health and Social Justice minister.
In a bid to put pressure on the government, they also decided to boycott the minister in the assembly and objected to the tabling of the Kerala Medical Education Bill by her. The MLAs trooped out of the House after tearing off the copy of the Bill. They alleged that the CPI(M)-led LDF government had extended the last date for submitting applications for the appointment of members in the panel with a view to induct party men.
Earlier in the day, the opposition had disrupted the House proceedings during zero hour over the issue but had agreed to cooperate with the proceedings later after a discussion with the Speaker, P Sreeramakrishnan. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that it was one of the biggest examples of nepotism by a minister. Stating that continuation of the minister in the cabinet was a “disgrace” to the democratic principles, he said a number of Congress ministers had resigned in the name of adverse court remarks in the past.
Both Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Health Minister, however, rejected the charges and said the government would take legal measures to get the remarks against her expunged. They also said the date was extended with a good intention and expressed confidence that the government would be able to convince the Court about its position.
Talking to reporters at the media room in the Assembly complex later, Shylaja said she had not done anything wrong and so “there is no need to resign”. She also said she was not a party in the particular case, in which the High Court had made the observation and expected that the court would hear her version and expunge the remarks.
“The government extended the last date for submitting applications for the posts with good intention to get efficient persons in the panel,” she said. The minister also rejected the opposition charge that the induction of one Suresh, a CPI(M) leader from Wayanad, as member in the panel, was a political one. On his appointment being quashed by the High Court, she said it had not questioned the qualification and efficiency of Suresh, but only observed that valid reasons for extending the last date were not given.