Opp BJP raises concern over treasury benches absence in assembly
Tapowan, Dec 21
The opposition BJP in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Thursday raised the issue of floor management of the treasury benches in the house, alleging that the Chief Minister and council of ministers abstained from the house in breach of rules when it was in session till late last evening.
As the house assembled today, Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur pointed out that the floor management of treasury benches was not in accordance with the accepted norms of this august house. Raising the issue in the question hours, he mentioned that no concerned ministers were present in the house yesterday when the house was in session till late evening.
He said that the house’s meeting lasted till late evening on Wednesday, but no one from the treasury benches and government was present in the house to respond to the discussion under rule 130. He emphasized that the Chief Minister and ministers of the government could not ignore the house when the assembly meeting was extended till late night.
Defending the treasury benches, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Chauhan stated that the Leader of the Opposition could not raise the issue of the floor management of treasury benches of last evening as he was also not present in the house himself.
Chauhan said that Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri was present in the house. He informed that all the council of ministers who were not in the house were present in the cabinet meeting scheduled at 1800 hrs on Wednesday. He said that during the previous BJP rule, a cabinet meeting had also been held simultaneously with the house meeting. He emphasized that there is no harm if the CM and concerned ministers authorize their business to other cabinet members in their absence, and it has also happened previously in the Congress and BJP rule.
Responding to the issue of floor management, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu stated that they were not aware that the house was extended after 2000 hrs, but no one deliberately skipped the meeting as the cabinet meeting lasted till late night. He said that before going to the cabinet meeting, he had authorized Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri and handed over the records of his office to him, so he should not be blamed for skipping the house. He mentioned that other ministers also authorized Deputy Chief ministers before leaving the house.
Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania instructed the treasury benches that members are expected to follow the rules of the house. He said that he ran or extended the house with the consent of treasury and opposition benches till 2000 hrs on Wednesday. He mentioned that consent was taken by both sides as they agreed to it. He said that he was informed that the CM authorized the Deputy Chief minister before leaving the house. He emphasized that it should be taken care of in the house that before leaving the house during the session, the concerned minister should also designate or authorize someone in the treasury benches to respond on his behalf to keep the house in order.
Earlier, the BJP pointed out yesterday that the Public Works Development Minister Vikramaditya was expected to be present in the house as the discussion under rule 130 was listed in the house. The issue of the Agriculture department was also listed for discussion in the house, but after the cabinet meeting, Agriculture Minister Chander Kumar also did not turn up in the house.
The issue of floor management of treasury benches was questioned by the opposition. The Speaker directed all ministers to ensure they authorize someone before leaving the house during the session.
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