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Speaker urges MLAs to observe rules

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, SEPT 16 . The Speaker, Therambil Ramakrishnan, today urged the members of the Assembly to adhere to the rules and procedures in order to make the debates in the House meaningful and effective, besides upholding its prestige and traditions.

Replying to the felicitations offered to him by various party leaders in the Assembly, Mr. Ramakrishnan said: "The Speaker's role is usually compared to that of a referee. The referee alone cannot make the competition healthy. The players should also be prepared to play the game according to the rules and obey the referee. With your full cooperation, I am confident that I would be able to uphold the tradition and prestige of this august House." Mr. Ramakrishnan assured the House that he would try his best to protect the legitimate privileges of the members, besides conducting his duty of helping the Government carry out its legislative business. He urged both the Treasury and Opposition benches to observe tolerance and restraint.

Session for 100 days

Earlier, the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, while congratulating Mr. Ramakrishnan on his election, assured the House that the Government would ensure that the Assembly would be in session for at least 100 days in a year. He said the Government would take the House and the Opposition into confidence and continuously probe areas of cooperation. It wanted to give up the practice of promulgating Ordinances, though there might be extra-ordinary circumstances under which it would have to resort to such a step.

The Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, said that while the Speaker was committed to helping the Government carry out its legislative business, he should also provide a level playing field for the Opposition to perform its role. He said the Government had failed to inform the members of the House the changes at the helm of affairs. He hoped that such lapses would not occur again. The Kerala Congress (B) leader, R Balakrishna Pillai, urged the Speaker to give due consideration to the Opposition viewpoint and protect the privileges of the Opposition members. The Kerala Congress (J) leader, T.M. Jacob, did not hide his rancour at the UDF leadership, when he urged the Speaker to exercise his authority with caution and a sense of fair play.

The IUML leader and Industry Minister, P.K. Kunhalikutty, the Revenue Minister, K.M. Mani, the CPI leader, K.P. Rajendran, the RSP leader, A.A. Aziz, the Janata Dal leader, Neelalohitadasan Nadar, the Kerala Congress (Joseph) leader, K.C. Joseph, the CMP leader, M.V. Raghavan, the JSS leader, K.R. Gouri, the Kerala Congress (Secular) leader, P.C. George, the Finance Minister, Vakkom Purushothaman, and the defeated candidate, Balan, also spoke.

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