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Sabarimala to post-flood rehab: Ker Assembly session likely to be stormy

twitter-logoPTI | November 26, 2018 | Updated 17:13 IST

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 26 (PTI) The Sabarimala temple row and post-flood rehabilitation measures in the state are among the issues expected to be raked up by the opposition UDF during the 13th session of the Kerala Assembly, beginning here Tuesday. The allegations of nepotism against the Local Administration minister K T Jaleel, the cancellation of the nod for new breweries and a distillery following corruption charges and sexual abuse complaint against ruling CPI(M) MLA, P K Sasi are also expected to make the 13-day long session stormy. The ongoing agitation against the Left government's decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala and the alleged police excesses against devotees is likely to dominate other issues. As the two-month-long pilgrim season is on and the police is facing criticism from various quarters against invoking prohibitory orders in and around Sabarimala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M)-led government will have to burn midnight oil to counter the opposition attack in the House. Some recent oral observations made by the Kerala High Court against the police action on devotees are also likely to put the ruling front in a fix. The government is expected to justify its actions, stating that it was bound to implement the apex court verdict and by raising its policies of gender equality and progressive values. Though the BJP is spearheading the state-wide stir against the entry of women belonging to 10-50 years in the hill shrine, it can do only little in the House as the saffron party has only one member. The major opposition, Congress-led UDF has taken a stand both against the LDF government and the BJP-RSS on the Sabarimala issue. While they vehemently criticise the LDF government for its "hastiness" in implementing the top court verdict without considering the sentiments of devotees, they have also slammed the BJP and Right wing forces for their alleged attempt to make the Lord Ayyappa temple a "war zone" in the name of protest. The UDF had also alleged Vijayan's actions on the Sabarimala issue had strengthened the BJP and RSS, which were inconsequential in Kerala so far. Meanwhile, the slow pace of rehabilitation and rebuilding initiatives in the state, which had witnessed the worst floods of the century in August, will also be a headache for the Left government. The CPI(M) decision to suspend its MLA, Sasi, for six months from the primary membership of the party on the sexual allegation complaint by a DYFI party worker is likely to blunt the UDF ammunition on the issue, if they raise it. As the session begins, the opposition UDF will be short of two of its legislators, following the death of the Indian Union Muslim League MLA, P B Abdul Razak and the disqualification of IUML legislator, K M Shaji by the Kerala High Court. The House will adjourn tomorrow after paying homage to Razak. The session, which will conclude on December 13, is scheduled to replace a total of 13 ordinances with respective bills. PTI LGK UD SS RCJ

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