Special Correspondent

Two walkouts, an equal number of adjournments

Clash over implementation of NREGS

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government’s attempts to escape discussing its handling of last month’s violent agitation by the Gujjar community for Scheduled Tribe status led to uproarious scenes in the Assembly on Tuesday.

The House witnessed two walkouts and an equal number of adjournments during the day on which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party members clashed verbally with the Opposition MLAs over implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and the State not withdrawing taxes on petroleum products.

The Gujjar issue did not allow Question Hour to take place as the first question on the day’s list by Congress member Bharat Singh was postponed. The question, in four parts, sought to know whether the Government had prior knowledge of the rail blockade by the Gujjars and why even when there was an arrest warrant issued against him by a court in Karauli, Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla was not arrested.

Even as Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria tried to explain that the question was dropped as the issue was “quasi-judicial” and the Bansal Commission was enquiring into it, Congress members Zuber Khan, Ramnarain Meena and Ramnarain Choudhary accused the Government of trying to escape the topic.

Leader of the Opposition Hemaram Choudhary said that after the Speaker allowing the question to be listed there should not have been any hitch for the Government to give a reply.

Congress members Harimohan Sharma and Sanyam Lodha protested against the postponement of another question put up by the former on the corruption charges against the government employees since 2004-05. Not satisfied with Speaker Sumitra Singh’s conciliatory suggestion that there were other ways for the members to raise “quasi-judicial” issues, the Congress members walked out towards the end of the Question Hour during which no question could be taken up.

The House was adjourned during Zero Hour following commotion over the related issue of imprisonment of two MLAs throughout the Gujjar agitation.

It was adjourned for the second time in the wake of the bedlam after Congress member Braj Kishore Sharma accusing the State Government of not helping the citizens by reducing the local taxes on petroleum products.

There were heated exchanges between the Opposition members and the Home Minister after the Congress member Sanyam Lodha, who had given notice of an adjournment motion on “illegal” imprisonment of Prahlad Gunjal and Attar Singh Badhana during the Gujjar agitation, was not allowed to speak. Mr. Kataria cited his jail days for 19 months during the Emergency to say that this incarceration was “nothing”.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Amra Ram and the Congress members made separate exits over “poor” implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Rajasthan.