February 26, 2020
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India news THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A day after writing to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan that he would not read the paragraph mentioning the passage of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act in his budget session address to the state assembly, governor Arif Mohammed Khan acceded to the CM’s request on Wednesday. Amid a high-voltage protest and boycott by the opposition Congress-led UDF, Khan presented his policy address and read out the references to the anti-CAA resolution, despite his “deep reservations”. Pinarayi had written to him on Wednesday morning requesting him to maintain constitutional propriety. “I have been corresponding with the CM on the matter for the last few days. I disagree with the government view but I will read to honour his request,” the governor said in his speech, in a surprising turn of events which continued to mark the ‘dramatic’ day. The controversial paragraph said: “Our citizenship can never be on the basis of religion as this goes against the grain of secularism, which is part of the basic structure of our Constitution. This august body unanimously passed a resolution requesting the Centre to abrogate CAA, 2019, which my government believes goes against cardinal principles underlying our Constitution. Pursuant to this, my government has filed an original suit before the honourable Supreme Court invoking provisions of Article 131.” Governor Khan, accompanied by the CM, speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and parliamentary minister A K Balan, had to wait for few minutes inside the well of the House as opposition members blocked the passage. As soon as the governor entered the House, the opposition MLAs shouted “Governor go back!” and blocked the passage and prevented him from entering the dais of the speaker. Even though the speaker requested the MLAs to go back to their seats and allow Khan to deliver his address, the opposition members were unrelenting. Khan then called the watch and wards of the House and asked them to remove the protesting MLAs. Opposition member Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that the state government and the governor had come to a “truce”. “The CM’s double stand has been exposed now. The CM begged the governor to read the policy address. This is a ploy to escape from the Lavlin case which may come up soon,” he alleged. The Supreme Court has been hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Kerala high court’s 2018 order discharging Vijayan and others in an alleged graft case involving an award of contract to a Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin for the renovation and modernisation of three hydroelectric projects in 1997. In his letter to the governor on Wednesday, the CM, said sources, quoted Article 176 which describes the duty of the governor to the assembly. “I request you to read out the speech approved by the council of ministers in its entirety without addition or deletion.”
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