A politically charged session on the cards

UDF will hold LDF’s 100-day rule to account in the Assembly

The third session of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly, which convenes on Monday, is likely to be sedate and tumultuous in turns.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Opposition will use the 24-day sitting to hold the 100-day old Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to account. The UDF is poised to bring the House to a standstill on a slew of debatable topics.

They include allegations of abusive police behaviour, ‘nexus’ between ranking officers and high-profile ‘swindlers’, ‘soft-pedalling’ the South Muttil rosewood felling case, ‘undercounting’ of COVID-19 deaths, public fears about the reopening of schools, lack of sufficient Plus One seat and dire state of public finances.

The Monson Mavunkal episode featuring ranking officers in an unflattering light will likely provide some ground for wry jesting amidst serious lawmaking business.

The ‘narcotic jihad’ controversy could figure prominently. The UDF and the LDF had felt that such polarising propaganda empowered political extremes, undermined democratic discourse and ceded the political advantage to right-wing majoritarian forces.

The UDF could take the government to task for rejecting the demand for an all-party meeting and a round table of religious leaders to put the controversy to rest. Both coalitions are plagued by internal contradictions, with important alliance partners at variance with each other on the sensitive issue. The IUML and INL had demanded the Pala prelate withdraw the statement.

In contrast, Kerala Congress (M) and Kerala Congress had demanded the government investigate the ‘concern’ expressed by the Bishop.

The Assembly is likely to consider various Bills covering local-self government, finance, taxes and employment guarantee. The debate is expected to be meandering and politically charged.

The LDF is primed to blunt the UDF’s attack by harping about the internal divisions in the Congress and the IUML. It will seek to fluster the Opposition by playing up recent defections from the Congress to the CPI(M).

The UDF might assail the LDF for ‘collaborating’ with the BJP and the SDPI to undermine its rule at Irattupettah and Kottayam municipalities respectively.

The LDF might weaponise KPCC president K. Sudhakaran’s alleged association with Monson Mavunkal, V.M. Sudheeran quitting of party posts, Haritha rebellion and the issue of gender equality in the IUML to target the UDF.

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