Left MPs disrupt parliament over Kerala food grain share

April 25th, 2008 - 9:50 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Members from Left parties Friday disrupted parliament proceedings to protest the reduction in Kerala’s allocation of food grain for the public distribution system (PDS), staging a walkout in the Rajya Sabha and creating a ruckus in the Lok Sabha. Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury claimed that there was 86 percent cut in the food grain allocation to Kerala, which is ruled by the Left front.

Yechury and other Left members asked Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to restore the quota for Kerala as had been done for Andhra Pradesh.

In the Lok Sabha, the Left members from Kerala and P.C. Thomas of the Kerala Congress came close the well of the house, seeking assurance from the government that the state’s share would be restored.

Thomas entered the well and staged a sit-in to protest what he termed as step-motherly treatment towards Kerala.

“Kerala’s quota has been reduced to around 17,000 metric tonnes against 123,000 metric tonnes. Though (Left) MPs from Kerala support the central government, still injustice is being done,” N.N. Krishnadas, a Left MP, said.

What angered the Left members more was the absence of Sharad Pawar in the house, as they wanted an assurance from the minister that the state’s food grain share would be restored.

As tempers rose, External Affairs Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee intervened, stating that he would convey their sentiments to the agriculture minister. The members relented after his assurance.

In the Rajya Sabha, Pawar said the quota for every state was fixed keeping in mind their intake, and denied that different yardsticks were being applied to some states.

“Andhra Pradesh lifted the earmarked food grain quota within the stipulated period, while Kerala did not,” Pawar said, which saw the Left MPs rise on their feet to protest.

The agitating members called for an assurance from Pawar, but in vain. The miffed Left members led by Yechury and Brinda Karat then staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha.

“It is sad that the government is doing injustice to Kerala, notwithstanding the fact that the Left parties support it. They should build pressure on the central government to restore the earlier share immediately,” P.C. Thomas of Kerala Congress told reporters later.

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