Monsoon session begins with tribute to former member and 441 people lost lives in devastating rain
Shimla, Sept 18
The Monsoon Session of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly began with tributes paid to former MLA Khub Ram and the unfortunate demise of 441 individuals in the recent monsoon rains. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu expressed the state’s profound loss in both Khub Ram and the tragic rainfall-related deaths. Leader of the Opposition, Jai Ram Thakur, along with Lokender Kumar and Speaker Kuldeep Pathania, also paid their respects to the departed individuals, and a moment of silence was observed in their honor.
Following the obituary references, Opposition members called for the adjournment of all proceedings to discuss the significant issue of the monsoon havoc. Speaker Kuldeep Pathania noted that he had received a request from BJP members that morning under rule 67. He clarified that Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu would introduce a resolution regarding the same issue for discussion during the day. The Speaker emphasized that this issue could be addressed under rule 102, and, therefore, there was no need for the Opposition to insist on discussing it under rule 67.
However, Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur argued that the Chief Minister’s proposed discussion differed from the one raised by BJP members under rule 67. He insisted that the day’s scheduled business should be adjourned to allow the House to immediately deliberate on the tragic loss of lives.
Amidst Opposition protests, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu presented the resolution, but he was repeatedly interrupted by Opposition members who were calling for a discussion under rule 67. Subsequently, the Opposition members staged a walkout while the Chief Minister was presenting the resolution. Condemning the Opposition’s actions, the Chief Minister remarked that they had initially demanded a special session on the issue but had walked out when their adjournment motion was granted.
The Chief Minister underscored that 441 people had tragically lost their lives, and 75,000 tourists had been stranded in the state. He praised the government’s swift response in evacuating all tourists within 72 hours following the rainfall. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harash Vardhan Chauhan criticized the BJP members, accusing them of trying to gain political advantage from the situation without considering the issue’s sensitivity. He mentioned that the Opposition Leader had been informed during yesterday’s all-party meeting that the government intended to discuss the issue under rule 102, despite the BJP raising it under rule 67. The discussion under rule 102 continued in the absence of Opposition members until break.
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