Opposition calls interruption game plan of Chief Minister

Delhi Commission for Woman chairperson and R.K. Puram MLA Barkha Singh on Friday created a furore in the Delhi Assembly when she raised the issue of alleged misbehaviour of a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA with a State Government employee last week.

As soon as Question Hour began, Ms. Singh began speaking on the issue and sought a discussion on the subject. Speaker Yoganand Shastri, however, asked Ms. Singh to postpone it till after the Question Hour ended.

Yet, when she spoke out of turn in the following session, legislators from the Opposition protested and called the interruption part “of the game plan of the Chief Minister”. The protests finally led to the adjournment of the House. “She first started talking before the Question Hour. Then when my turn came to speak under ‘Rule 280’, I was interrupted even though the Speaker had asked me to stand up,” said BJP MLA Jagdish Mukhi from Janakpuri. “This is all part of the Chief Minister’s game plan,” he said.

Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the Chief Minister tried to stop the proceedings of the House and asked Ms. Singh to speak. “Such a thing has never happened in the history of the Assembly. There were 10 people listed to speak under ‘Rule 280’ but her [Barkha Singh] name was not part of that list. So why allow her to speak?” he asked.

Speaking to media persons later, Ms. Singh said the issue pertains to a woman and so she will speak up in her favour . “The Opposition says that the Congress is playing politics with this issue. We are not doing any such thing.” The incident Ms. Singh was referring to took place on March 7 on the ninth floor of the Delhi Secretariat. The woman officer, deployed in the Unauthorised Colonies Cell, had apparently refused to allow Tughlakabad MLA Ramesh Bidhuri a hearing in a matter pertaining to colony maps leading to a commotion.

Earlier in the day, Prof. Malhotra had also asked Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for an explanation about the incidents of suicides that took place inside Tihar Jail . “There have been two suicides inside the jail. One of Ram Singh followed by Reshma,” he said.

Stating that, when asked the Chief Minister says the jail administrators report to the Union Home Ministry and not to her, he said that therefore “the House does not even get a report on the matter.”

Since the query was raised under ‘Rule 280’, the Chief Minister did not respond prompting more protests from the Opposition.

“How many more suicides are going to happen inside Tihar? Who is responsible? What is going on here?” asked the BJP MLA and party Chief Whip Sahab Singh Chauhan.

“A suo motu statement should have been given to the House,” he said.

The commotion led to adjournment of the House for 30 minutes.

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