Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 14 (UNI) The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) today staged a walk out in the Kerala Assembly after the Speaker denied permission to discuss Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob's application for three months leave following her reported differences with Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan over the ISRO land deal.
Moving an adjournment motion on the issue, Mr K Sudhakaran of the Congress alleged that public criticism against the Chief Secretary by the Chief Minister would destroy the self confidence of civil servants.
In his reply, Mr Achuthanandan said he had received a letter from the Chief Secretary and would discuss the matter with her to find a solution.
Stating that he had made such criticisms against Government officials on earlier occasions also and they had corrected the lapses, the Chief Minister pointed out that such criticisms were only to improve their efficiency and correct their mistakes.
Noting that Ms Jacob had carried out her duties efficiently, he said there had been some lapses on the part of the Chief Secretary in not informing him about the construction of the helipad in the controversial Merchiston Estate ahead of the Prime Minister's visit.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Oommen Chandy alleged that the Chief Minister had no moral right to continue in office, if he did not know about the construction of the helipad, as all decisions in this regard would have originated from his department.
He alleged that the Chief Minister and the Government were trying to shield the errant Minister by shifting the blame on civil servants and added that Forests Minister Binoy Viswam, who was allegedly involved in the land deal, should follow the path of the Chief Secretary.
In the wake of the Chief Minister's reply, Speaker K Radhakrishan refused to allow a debate on the issue, following which the UDF members staged a walk out.
Mr Achuthanandan had said there was a lapse on Ms Jacob's part in not informing him of the sanction given for construction of a helipad at Ponmudi, where ISRO had purchased land for its space Institute.