The Opposition parties in the Rajasthan Assembly staged a walk-out on the opening day of the monsoon session here on Tuesday demanding a debate on corruption and sympathising with the condition of fasting Anna Hazare. The veteran Gandhian's fast entered its eighth day on Tuesday and his health is on the decline, said the Leader of the Opposition, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who led the walk-out.
“All want to end corruption. The nation is on the boil over all-round corruption. People have come out on the streets protesting against this malady and in solidarity with the movement,” said Ms. Raje, who stood up even before Assembly Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat could take up the day's business.
“If something happens to Anna's health that can lead to strong public reaction all over the country,” she warned. Citing Intelligence Bureau reports, she said there was unrest in the country and there could be an upheaval if things were left to smoulder.
Two BJP MLAs, former Minister Devi Singh Bhati and former Jaipur Mayor Mohanlal Gupta, came to the House sporting white caps with “I am Anna” inscription.
Ms. Raje asked the State Government to introduce the Guaranteed Delivery of Public Services Act, which she said the Chief Minister had promised some time back. “He talked about introducing it but so far nothing has happened. We want a discussion on that proposed Bill as well during the current session,” she said.
Though the previous session of the Assembly was adjourned in the third week of March before the scheduled time in the wake of a long stand-off between the ruling Congress and the BJP-led Opposition, the beginning of the day did not reflect any ill-will among the members. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who reached the House five minutes before the scheduled time of 11 a.m. for the proceedings to start, went round meeting members. Ms. Raje, who was already seated, got up as Mr. Gehlot approached her seat to wish her.
As such the House had only limited schedule for the day which included tabling of the Bills and condolences. Mr. Singh's ruling that the Business Advisory Committee of the Assembly, meeting later during the day, would only be able to decide on the discussion did not satisfy the members. As the Speaker directed the Ministers to table the Bills, the Opposition members from the BJP, the Janata Dal and the CPI(M) members moved out of the House. They returned a few minutes later.
The House expressed condolences over the death of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal; former Arunachal Chief Minister Dorji Khandu; former Governor of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra P.C.Alexander; former Union Minister Daulat Ram Saran; former Rajasthan Ministers Ramdev Singh, Takkiyuddin Ahmed and Dungarram Panwar, and former MLAs Kalulal Khateek, Suklal Senecha, Sunil Vishnoi, Dungarram Rajoria and Uma Mathur.
Former ruler of Jaipur Maharaja Bhawani Singh was also remembered in the condolences read out by the Speaker. The members also paid tributes to the victims of the Mumbai bomb blasts of July 13, the Mathura-Chappra Express collision and the Kalka Express tragedy. The House was adjourned for the day after the condolences.