Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Madhya Pradesh assembly on Tuesday after a BJP MLA raised the issue of illegal mining in his constituency, prompting the main opposition Congress to come out in his support.
Much to the embarrassment of the state government, BJP MLA from Mahidpur, Bahadur Singh Chouhan said illegal mining was going on in his constituency, too.
Congress legislators asked the government to take action against officials, who RD Prajapati - MLA from Chandla (SC) constituency in Chhatarpur district - alleged, were hand in glove with mining mafias from Uttar Pradesh.
Despite mineral resources minister Rajendra Shukla assuring the MLA that the matter would be investigated and appropriate action would be taken, Prajapati said he would continue to stand at his seat until the government took action against officials.
To back his claim, Prajapati said he would resign from the assembly or an FIR can be lodged against him if his was found wrong.
There was heated exchange of words between Congress MLAs and BJP ministers, especially parliamentary affairs minister Narottam Mishra and forest minister Gauri Shankar Shejwar. Congress’s Ajay Singh questioned whether the government was really serious on checking illegal mining in the state.
Following ruckus on the issue, speaker Sitasaran Sharma had to adjourn the house for half an hour.
When the house reassembled, about 30 MLAs from both sides came near minister Shukla and kept talking to him for 10 minutes. Then they left the house.
During the adjournment, Prajapati, Shukla and some other MLAs went to the speaker’s chamber. When the house resumed, Prajapati said he was satisfied with the government’s assurance, triggering angry reaction from the Congress MLAs.
They demanded that whatever assurance was promised to Prajapati, it should be shared in the house as the question was raised by the BJP MLA during the Question Hour.
Acting leader of the Opposition Bala Bachan said, “It was not a party issue that they decided outside the house. The matter was raised in the house and all here have the right to know what happened and what was conveyed to Prajapati.” Another Congress MLA Ram Niwas Rawat questioned whether the BJP MLA was silenced by the BJP.
Ministers Gopal Bhargava and Gauri Shankar Shejwar made some comments which enraged Congress MLAs. Bhargava said the Congress MLAs were licking the Simhastha plates for the last 10 days.
He said the opposition had been trying to raise the issue of corruption during Simhastha by talking about plates and such stuff, but nothing came out of it.
On this, the Congress MLAs came into the well and demanded apology from Bhargav. Minister Narottam Mishra said, “If you have evidence (about corruption during Simhastha), go to court or go to Lokayukta.”
This is not the first time that Prajapati raised the issue of illegal mining in his constituency. Last month, he wrote to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and mineral resources minister Shukla. He also threatened that he would go for an indefinite hunger strike, if the state government ignores the issue.
BSP MLAs protest
BSP MLAs Satyaprakash, Usha Choudhary and Sheela Tyagi raised the issue of the police harassing people in a Dalit locality in Gwalior. They said the police also used abusive language against Dalits. They rushed into well shouting slogans against the government. Congress MLAs also came into their support, demanding discussion on the matter and action against the erring cops.