The no-confidence motion moved by the Congress led United Democratic Front against the Left government in Kerala was defeated by 87-40 votes on Monday after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan mounted a scathing attack on the national party, saying it is in a 'pathetic situation' and most of its leaders were waiting for a call to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
It is after a 15 year gap that a no confidence motion was moved against the government.
In 2005, the then Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had moved a motion, levelling corruption charges against the Oommen Chandy government.
On Monday, after a marathon nine hour discussion, the motion, the first against the four-year-old LDF government, was defeated with 87 members opposing it and 40 supporting it in the 140-member house with two vacancies.
Owing to the COVID-19 health protocol, voting was held in a traditional manner, whereby who supported the motion stood up and their names were called out and counted.
Similarly, those who opposed stood up and their numbers were taken.
The Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, then announced that the 'motion for no-confidence has been dismissed'.
Slamming the Congress, Vijayan said the party was not able to elect its leader while seniors were describing each other as 'BJP agents'.
He claimed most of the leaders were waiting for a call from the BJP to join it.
The chief minister was referring to the leadership issue faced by the Congress, with a section demanding collective leadership and another reposing faith in the Gandhi family.
Listing out the events in which the Congress had supported the BJP in the past to pull down various secular governments at the Centre, Vijayan said the grand old party has become the 'B Team' of the saffron party.
"You left your ideology on secularism and your identity and became the B team of BJP. The same is happening in Kerala," he said.
He also said that there is an 'underlying relation' between the Congress, Muslim League and the BJP, which he termed as the 'CO-LE-B team' and said the Jamat-e-Islami has taken over the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Congress.
"Jamat-e-Islami hijacks the League and RSS, the Congress. All the anti-communists have joined together and formed an anti-communist platform. They don't have anything against the state government and hence tried to create a smokescreen to tarnish our image," Vijayan said in his marathon nearly four hour speech.
As he continued to list out the achievements of his government, opposition members rushed to the well of the house raising slogans against the government and said the chief minister was not replying to the allegations raised by UDF.
In the 140 member house, LDF has 93 MLAs, UDF 45 and BJP, one.
There is also an independent member.
Two seats are vacant following the death of Thomas Chandy and M Vijayan Pilla, who represented Kuttanad and Chavara constituencies.
Nonagenarian V S Achutanandan, Minister K T Jaleel and George M Thomas abstained from the LDF side, while Eldose Kunnapally,C F Thomas, Roshi Augustine and N Jeyaraj abstained from the voting process.
The lone BJP member O Rajagopal also was not present.
Two members-- Karat Razak (LDF) and K M Shaji (UDF) do not have voting rights as the Kerala high court has declared their elections void and their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court.
Chennithala later told reporters that the chief minister did not give any reply to the eight allegations the front had raised.
"The CM's speech was like the lengthy budget speech of the Governor", he said.
The opposition UDF and BJP have been levelling serious charges against the government and have alleged that the Chief Minister's Office has links with the gold smuggling case, life mission project, besides others.
V D Satheesan (congress) moved the motion, alleging that the CMO was 'hijacked' by the gold smuggling gang.
The gold smuggling cases pertains to charges that it was smuggled through the diplomatic baggage of the UAE consulate, while the Life Mission Project involves building homes at Vadakkanchery in Thrissur for the poor who lost their dwellings in the floods last year.
The opposition also charges the government, ranging from smuggling of gold through diplomatic baggage of the UAE consulate and corruption in the Life Mission project for building homes for the poor who lost their dwellings during last year's floods, Satheeshan also said the ministers and the chief minister were trying to 'pin all the blame' in the gold smuggling case on M Sivasankar, suspended former principal secretary to chief minister and IT Secretary.
The assembly also passed the Finance Bill 2020-21, which could not be done after the state budget in February as the house was adjourned sine die on March 13 due to the coronavirus scare.