Shimla, Feb 26

Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Government caught unaware of the aggressive floor strategy of Opposition Congress witnessed an unceremonious departure of Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandru Datatraya from State assembly today.  The very first day of this session being held after gap of six months due to Covid Pandemic witnessed ugly scenes inside and outside the house today.

How the ruckus started

As the house assembled for the budget session at 1100 hrs  Guv was accorded a impressive welcome by the guard of honor and presentation of attractive bouquets of flowers. It was after five to six minutes when the opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri started intervening in the Guv address. Agnihotri was heard stating that Opposition wants to discuss number of people specific issues like death of farmers while fighting against farms law and hike of fuel prices, etc. He said that the Opposition wants that Guv address must mentions of these issue. Besides he said that the Oppn would be interested to give ears to the entire Guv address and not just a brief for formality sake.

But as the Governor concluded his address after reading three pages and stated that the address should be considered read in the house Opposition member got agitated over the move. The proceeding was adjourned for the few minutes. As it started again Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Hansraj was on the chair and decided to adjourn the house for Monday as Opposition wanted to raise their issues stating that they had moved motion for the discussion on public importance issues.

Staging protest in the house, Opposition members moved to the entry gate of speaker in the Vidhan Sabha complex and gave Dharana on the threshold but outside the house. Meanwhile the Guv was inside the Speaker chamber and was being offered high tea by the Vidhan Sabha staff. The during departure from the house was accompanied by vidhan sabha Speaker, Chief Minister, number of other cabinet and the first lady and wife of Governor.

Owing to Dharana on the entry gate, the governor could not move out. The Vidhan Sabha staff and Parliamentary affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj was then seen trying with protesting Congress members to clear the way for the Guv but they did not relent.

Governor somehow moved outside the entry gate and taking a left he came down Vidhan Sabha premises  entry point however Opposition members showing protest cordoned the Guv for few minutes. When Cong members were quelled from the spot, Guv entered his vehicle but Opposition members stopped the Convey in the pedestal of the Vidhan Sabha courtyard.

Deputy Speaker Hansraj and number of other cabinet ministers including Urban Development minister Suresh Bhardwaj rushed toward the Congress members and they again quelled them away from the car of Governor. But Congress members rushed again towards the vehicle of Governor and started thumping its bonnet. Some of opposition members were also seen tearing the copy of Guv Address.

The tension further rose and this time security of Vidhan Sabha in civil uniforms quelled away the opposition members and Guv Car could then move out from the scene without causing tangible hurts to the vehicle and staff.

What happened afterwards

At 1300 hrs the Speaker exercising his discretionary power under rule 346 of assembly rule started the spl sitting without giving any notice to the Congress members. When Speaker was questioned by media after the sitting he stated that members were floated messages to join the special session however Opposition leader Mukesh Agnihotri however stated that the  decision to convene the special sitting after adjournment of house till Monday was taken in BJP legislative meeting as the Members got sms about the session at 1246 hrs they could not join house on the notice of four minutes which was scheduled to convened at 1250hrs.

The BJP Govt parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj come up with the resolution to suspend five members of Congress which include Agnihotri, Harshvardhan Chauhan, Satpal Raijada, Surinder Thakur and Vinay Kumar which was passed by the treasury benches with voice vote in absence of any members of Opposition.

Later speaker addressed the media persons outside his chamber and condemned the unceremonious and acrimonious scenes inside and outside the assembly terming it the blow on the democratic and constitutional post of Governor. 

What opposition states

Congress leader of Opposition Mukesh Aganihotri justified their protest stating that Guv should have read the entire address. Since the Guv Address was sheer lies he seems to be not interested in it and he went to enjoy the high tea and snack in the Speaker Chambers, remarked Agnihotri.

Agnihotri said that they had given the call of protest on Guv address yesterday. ” We had already stated yesterday that they would go to any extents to raise the public issues. We are agitating aggressively since the first day, but government was not interested to hear them out. Or else what could be the reason that they adjourned the house after Guv address.

Leader of Opposition and Congress legislative party said that they way treasury benches exercised the ambit of rule 319 on them it shows that ruling benches want to curbed the voice of Oppositions as the rule could not apply on any such incidents which occurred outside the house.

” Normally rule 319 of assembly get exercised or apply against those members who disrupt the functioning of house or other members but Opposition members for any such protest being lodged outside the assembly could not be come under its ambit” Agnihotri said.

Opposition members pressing their demands could stop the cavalcade of Governor it is not any breach of assembly rules. When asked about the next course of action Agnihotri said that  they would contemplate on any option to challenge such action on them.

We have not decided about the next course of action to revoke thes suspensions but including court they have various options to take the remedy for this  action. Protested inside the assembly and outside could not amount to any breach of assembly rules however if Jai Ram Government use force of law and order to curb the voice of opposition they would give a befitting reply however  we are not in mood to create such discords in the budget session.

Were the treasury benches exposed today?

Interestingly the ruling party which should have come with a floor strategy on very first day convened BJP legislative meeting after the session today. After incidence of the first day it seems that before an offensive and aggressive opposition there was no floor strategy of ruling party for 17 sittings in the budget session , state congress supporters.

The first day of assembly which meets after Monsoon session i.e a gap of six months witnessed unruly scenes and the Opposition could not be blamed alone but it was also drawback of protocol and security breach of Governor which warrants action against the responsible. Besides the lack of proper floor strategy and taking the Opposition call of protest on Guv address given on Thursday by the opposition leader lightly exposed the treasury benches and Government that it caught unaware of floor management which rarely occurred in the history of this Vidhan Sabha.

The unruly science would not able to contain the erosion of faith of public in the  parliamentary democracy as the Vidhan Sabha sessions should have been to heal the sores of crying humanity suffering from the pandemic and such problems.


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