The no-confidence motion moved against the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government by the Opposition United Democratic Front in the Assembly was defeated on Monday, PTI reported. Eighty-seven MLAs voted against the motion while 40 MLAs voted in favour of it.

Vijayan’s response to the no-confidence motion against his government lasted nearly four hours, according to NDTV. The Opposition had blamed Vijayan’s government for the gold smuggling case and also accused him of corruption in a housing project.

UDF MLA VD Satheesan, who moved the no-confidence motion, alluded to William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar to attack Vijayan’s government. “The Chief Minister is an honourable man,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV. “Captain of the ship. But he isn’t able to control the ship because the primary problem is in the Cabinet. Earlier, when I cautioned him, I never knew the headquarters of this smuggling case will be the Chief Minister’s office.”

The Kerala Assembly session lasted nearly 12 hours. The Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said that it was the first time in history that three central agencies were frequently coming to the state Secretariat, according to Hindustan Times.

Vijayan hit back at Chennithala and said that his government will not protect the accused in the gold-smuggling case. “Has any probe agency mentioned Chief Minister or his office before the court?” Vijayan said, according to NDTV. “Has anyone from the government been arrested?”

The Kerala chief minister also launched a sharp attack on the Congress and its ally Indian Union Muslim League, accusing it of deliberately spreading rumours about his administration. Vijayan referred to the Congress as Bharatiya Janata Party’s “team B” and said that the party was hungry for power.

In the 140-strong Assembly, Left Democratic Front has 91 members, UDF has 45. A no-confidence motion was introduced in the House after 15 years.

The gold smuggling case

On July 5, gold weighing 30 kg concealed in imported plumbing material was seized by the Customs officials upon inspection of an air cargo consignment addressed to the Consular General of the United Arab Emirates in Thiruvananthapuram district. Officials valued the gold at Rs 15 crore.

The customs department arrested Sarith PS, an accused, on the same day for allegedly facilitating the smuggling of the gold in a diplomatic baggage from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai. Sarith and another suspect, Swapna Suresh, worked at the consulate-general’s office until seven months ago. Later, the state government had appointed Suresh as marketing liaison officer of the Space Park project.

Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary M Sivasankar was also removed after Opposition leaders questioned his alleged association with the three accused. On July 22, the Enforcement Directorate filed a money laundering complaint in the case.