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LDF-UDF spat turns ugly, desecrates Kerala House

All hell broke loose in the Kerala Assembly on Friday with the Speaker’s podium being vandalised and members of the opposition and ruling benches coming to blows and in the din Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani managed to present his record 13th budget. The MLAs also engaged in a scuffle with the watch and ward staff leading to injuries to several persons. The House virtually turned into a battlefield with the opposition trying all means to prevent Mani, facing bribery allegations in the ‘bar case’, from presenting the budget.

Mani alongwith several of his cabinet colleagues had stayed back in the Assembly complex last night as the Opposition threatened to block his way to the Assembly. LDF has called for a hartal tomorrow in protest against the alleged attack on their MLAs, including women and their cadres outside the House.

The agitation of the LDF and that of Yuva Morcha, BJP’s youth wing outside the house also turned violent in many places with police resorting to lathi-charge, bursting tear gas shells and using water cannons to disperse angry crowds, which burnt a police jeep. A 64-year-old CPI-M supporter, who took part in the protest organised by the LDF, collapsed and died. CM Oommen Chandy described Friday’s developments in the House ‘disgraceful’ and ‘unfortunate’.

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