The last day of Kerala assembly's session ahead of the ensuing civic elections ended amid drama and heated exchanges between the treasury benches and the opposition over allegedly dubious purchase of tribals' land by companies.
Speaker K. Radhakrishnan tried unsuccessfully to get opposition members, protesting in the well of the house, to occupy their seats and finished the listed business for the day in a flash and adjourned the assembly sine die.
Earlier seeking permission to move an adjournment motion, Congress legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan asked the government to action against officials and companies which were responsible for tricking hapless tribals in Palakkad district to sell their land at throw-away prices.
He said the tribals' land was usurped by a land mafia operating for the rich and the mighty.
He said he led a team to the tribal areas last week after reports surfaced that more than 200 acre land belonging to the socially marginalised people was bought at a very low price and sold to a windmill company for a song.
"An official of the tribal department and the Palakkad district collector have already submitted in writing about the crime conducted by a group of people," he said.
"All you have done was to take action against an adivasi (tribal) lady revenue official. Why are you not going deep and bringing the real culprits to book," asked Radhakrishnan.
Replying to this, Land Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran said that the cabinet on Wednesday decided to appoint a committee headed by the chief secretary to give a detailed report.
"They will be submitting the report in a month's time and none will be spared," said Rajendran.
Minister for the Welfare of Scheduled and Backward Communities A.K. Balan said that some of the documents that have been examined have shown that the land changed hands several times in the past.
A detailed examination is needed to ascertain if the land really belonged to tribals, he said.
"We assure the house that none would be spared and for that a thorough probe has to take place so that the real villains can be identified," said Balan.
Dissatisfied with the government's response, leader of opposition Oommen Chandy said that "it is clear that you just want to delay the action because you do not want to cut a sorry figure ahead of the civic polls in September".
"Moreover you are giving time to the windmill company to take legal recourse," he said.
"The need of the hour is to act on the basis of the collector's report and we will be fully behind you if you pass orders today to close down the windmill farm immediately," said the Congress leader.
Things went out of control when Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan blamed the opposition for creating a fuss.
"You are raking up this issue for creating a scene here today," said Achuthanandan.
Soon the entire opposition trooped into the well of the house shouting slogans, which forced the speaker to adjourn the house sine die.