Oppn skips scoring points during 67- debate in Assembly on Wednesday
By M L Verma
Shimla, March 16
Despite setting a healthy standard by Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania to allow opposition members in Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly to participate in the debate under rule 67 discussion on Wednesday, the Opposition seemed to skip scoring significant points by being caught unprepared in lack of substance.
Chief minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu agreed to the debate and replied even though the agenda of the discussion was in favour of the Opposition.
During the debate, the Opposition was expected to target the new government for the de-notification of institutions in the last three months. The strong argument of treasury benches was that closing down institutions was due to the lack of budget provision and staff, which is virtually true, barring a few opened on priority or need base.
Opposition BJP under the leadership of Jai Ram Thakur, appeared on the receiving end as it was blamed for unveiling foundation stones and refurbishing old government properties to camouflage as new institutions and installations. Bhawani Singh Pathania, a Congress party MLA not so high in the stature of Parliamentary democracy, blew away all logic of BJP MLAs by speaking against the motion in a well-worked academic debate which, in the opinion of a senior journalist, was of really academic interest.
Pathania countered all logic behind the motive of the Opposition to bring the adjournment motion and exposed the Opposition’s hypocrisy. He could not be opposed by any of the MLAs of the opposition benches.
Sukhu, who has had a meteoric rise from the ashes of vanished Congress lobby of Pandit Sukh Ram, has undoubtedly grown more than expected strength and humble background. But Sukhu is on the wet pith of politics, being cornered from inside and outside over several issues. The Opposition couldn’t target Congress for spending too much despite having empty coffers. If the government couldn’t run BJP run or opened institutions, how is it spending on the army of so many CPS, Chairman, Vice chairman, Advisors and OSDs.
This argument was figured during the first day of the Budget session when the Opposition made a futile attempt to initiate a discussion under rule 67 on withholding of MLA’s discretionary fund by the government.
Deputy chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri demolished the opposition argument of ‘friends government’ (Dauston ki sarkar by Opposition) by stating that Jai Ram Thakur has left the same legacy of jamboo Government of advisors and OSDs etc. Thus on Wednesday, the opposition benches skipped the scoring points during the debate.
Among those who could effect the motion was first-time MLA Dr Janak Raj, who defended Jai Ram Thakur’s former rule by stating that it was a compulsion of BJP to open 80 pc institutions in the last year of its rule in Election time because the entire country and state was facing the wrath of lockdown for two years of its rule which was countered effectively. He also hit the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government by denying funds for the popular Himcare health scheme launched by Jai Ram Thakur Government and not releasing funds for the Ayushman scheme.
He said denying health benefits to the beneficiary is inhuman and anti-people, which should not be there.
Dr Janak Raj, Doctor turned Legislator and remained HOD of IGMC Shimla, said that he is getting calls from people that the government is not releasing funds for the above scheme and paying for the supply of essential medicines in the health institution, which he demanded to restore.
Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu however, defended him taking a veiled defence that he is not ordered to stop expenditure on medicine, Himcare and Ayushman schemes. He said that the Centre owes the responsibility to fund Rs 45 Core national flagship Ayushman scheme, which needs intervention from the Centre.
The debate, in a nutshell, became a victim of pushing the ball to each other’s court. The walkout during the division of motion was merely ceremonial.
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