Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 23: A controversy has erupted after Kerala Governor P Sathasivam skipped portions critical of the Centre while delivering the policy address of the CPI(M)-led LDF government in the state assembly.
The Opposition Congress has insisted that the debate on motion of thanks to the Governor for his address should be held by avoiding any reference to the portions skipped by Sathasivam.
BJP praised the Governor for not reading the portions in his address delivered on the first day of the assembly session on Monday.
In the printed copy of his address, prepared by the state government and distributed to legislators and media, there was a reference to the alleged tendency of the central government to "roughshod" the traditions of cooperative federalism by bypassing the state government. However, this portion was not read out by the Governor during his speech.
"We are also perturbed by the tendency of the central government to roughshod the best traditions of co-operative federalism by bypassing the state government and directly dealing with the district authorities and local bodies," the text said.
The governor also omitted the reference about the "plotting" by some communal outfits in triggering riots in the southern state. "Kerala has once again been identified as first in the country in maintenance of law and order and top the country in the ranking of quality of life.
There has not been any instance of communal riot in our state despite the plotting by certain communal outfits," the copy of the speech said. Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala, in a statement, had said even though the portions were in the printed copy, the Governor did not read them out.
Not only that, the governor also did not say that all be taken as read, as was the normal practise in the assembly. In such circumstances, the skipped portions should not be taken up for discussion during the motion of thanks, he said.
Chennithala said he had given a letter to speaker P Sreeramakrishnan in this regard. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had sought to play down the issue, saying the Governor not reading the portions had not come to his notice. He was responding to a question from reporters here.
BJP state President Kumanam Rajasekaran and national executive member V Muralidharan praised the Governor for omitting the references against the central government.
Earlier, when contacted, the Chief Minister's Office told PTI that they were not keen on making any comment on this issue. "We usually do not make any comment on the Governor's policy address," official sources said.
In his speech, Sathasivam referred to campaigns by some "communal outfits" on the law and order situation of the state on both social and conventional media, in the past year.
"Despite being a state with some of the best law and order indices in the country, a month long campaign was carried out across India, on certain flimsy grounds by some communal outfits," he said.
However, people of the state en masse responded to this campaign featuring the hash tags, the Governor said. During the past one year, there had been "slanderous" attacks on the secular traditions of Kerala, doubts thrown on its social sector achievements and vilification of the law and order situation from various quarters, he said.
In October last year, the BJP had taken out the much- hyped 'Janaraksha yatra' against the alleged 'red terror'.
BJP national president Amit Shah, who participated in the yatra, had alleged that Kerala, under the CPI(M)-led LDF government, had become a fertile ground for 'jihadi terror'. He had also alleged that whenever the LDF government came to power, attacks against saffron party cadres increased in the state.
Countering the BJP charges, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had alleged that the Janaraksha yatra had propagated "lies and false messages".