Special Correspondent

BJP, Muslim members expelled

No-confidence motion defeated

NEW DELHI: A reference to the Babri Masjid by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday during her reply to the no-confidence motion moved by opposition BJP in the Delhi Assembly plunged the House into chaos as the BJP members as also four-time MLA Shoaib Iqbal of the Lok Janshakti Party vociferously opposed her remarks, leading to their expulsion.

In the absence of these opposition members, the Chief Minister completed her address and though the expulsion was later withdrawn, the BJP stayed away from the House and the motion was defeated in their absence.

Responding to the motion initiated by Leader of Opposition V. K. Malhotra on Tuesday, the Chief Minister began by castigating Prof. Malhotra for moving the motion on the basis of newspaper reports. “The figures are all wrong,” she said.

Noting that the people had elected the Congress Government for the record third term in Delhi, Ms. Dikshit accused the BJP of betraying the people. Even on the issue of Babri Masjid, she said, while the party had come to power by promising a temple, it had not kept its word.

This had the BJP members on their feet. Prof. Malhotra proclaimed that “there was no mosque but only a temple. It was there, it is there and it will remain there”. Then the BJP members began raising slogans.

At this former Deputy Speaker Shoaib Iqbal also got up and criticised the Chief Minister and her party for destroying a community by playing such divisive politics. After getting into an argument with a Congress Minister, he then climbed on to his desk and began raising slogans. At this Speaker Yoganand Shastri ordered him removed from the House, and after the House was adjourned for 10 minutes following much pandemonium, the marshals carted him away. When the House reassembled, the BJP members again kept protesting. They also raised slogans against the Chief Minister and there was counter sloganeering by Congress MLAs. In the meantime, Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA from Okhla Asif Mohammad Khan raised a point of order.

But as Ms. Dikshit interrupted him saying, “I have not permitted you”, the BJP members again erupted in protest stating that the Speaker was the one to decide on the issue. Then Mr. Khan came and sat in the well of the House in protest against Mr. Iqbal’s expulsion.

Even as the slogan shouting was going on, Education and Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely moved a motion naming all the BJP MLAs and they were then expelled from the House by the Speaker.Ms. Dikshit then continued with her address. She declared that it was not her intention to hurt anyone’s sentiment. “For me all religions are equal.” After her speech, the House voted on the no-confidence motion and it was defeated by a voice vote and show of hands.