Trouble over suspension of four MLAs for misbehaviour
House adjourned four times on Friday with no question hourCongress demands recall of suspended legislators
JAIPUR: The ongoing impasse in the Rajasthan Assembly over suspension of four Opposition MLAs for alleged misbehaviour during Governor Pratibha Patil's customary address on the opening day of the Budget session continued for the second day on Friday. The House was adjourned four times and no Question Hour business could be transacted as the opposition Congress demanded recall of the suspended MLAs.
The Question Hour could not take place as the Congress demanded a settlement of the issue regarding the suspension of four MLAs Amra Ram of CPI (M), Suresh Meena and Murailal Meena of Bahujan Samaj Party and Ranvir Singh Gudda of Lok Janshakti Party executed through a resolution moved by the chief whip of the ruling party, Mahavir Prasad Jain, the previous day.
The proceedings of the House could not take place despite adjournments at 12-15 p.m., 12-45 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. before final adjournment for the day till Monday. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was away in Punjab to take part in the swearing-in of the new Government in Chandigarh and there were no attempts from anyone in the Government to talk to the MLAs.
The suspended MLAs had protested at the time of the Governor's address against not allowing farmers to hold a rally in Jaipur on February 22. Their slogans against the Government's "authoritarian tendencies" standing in the well of the House led to Speaker Sumitra Singh make a suggestion to the Governor that she could read the concluding paragraph of the text and the rest could be "considered as read".
As Ms. Patil left the House in less than 15 minutes of her arrival the Congress members joined the issue with the Treasury Benches pointing out that norms were not followed in treating the Governor's address as read. As the Congress leaders raised points of order on the issue and the Speaker promised a ruling later, the ruling party moved a resolution suspending the four MLAs for "disturbing the Governor's address" for the rest of the session.
The Leader of the Opposition, Ramnarain Choudhary, said if the Government wanted to run the House peacefully it should talk to the MLAs who were sitting outside the House. The ruling party's chief whip said an apology from the concerned MLAs was a condition for any reconciliation though some others from his party suggested the Congress leaders could apologise for the MLAs' "misbehaviour".
The Speaker, citing precedents, suggested to senior Congress leader Pradhyumna Singh he could apologise on behalf of the MLAs but the latter did not buy the idea. He even said the Speaker's interventions were aggravating the situation. Ramnarain Choudhary dismissed the suggestion of apology with a remark: "Why apology? Is it a martial law here?"
Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria accused the Congress of going on an ego trip over the issue.