The fourth day of the five-day Winter Session in the MP assembly witnessed uproarious scenes on Thursday, with the Opposition demanding a discussion and probe into the alleged Simhastha scam.
Congress MLA Jeetu Patwari raised a query on the Simhastha during Question Hour. He alleged the government had quoted different figures on similar questions on Simhastha, which he claimed corroborated the Congress’ charges that there was a huge scam during Simhastha, demanding a reply from the urban administration and development minister Maya Singh.
Spurred by his question, his fellow party colleagues raised the point regarding different answers to at least three questions on Simhastha, including one asked in the Parliament.
Acting leader of the Opposition Bala Bachchan, chief whip Ramniwas Rawat and other MLAs made repeated demands to the speaker to allow a discussion on Simhastha scam and also malnutrition as promised by the speaker. They also wanted a ruling by the speaker in the House over their demand.
Maya Singh said there was no anomaly in figures as the replies were given on different dates and after updating the information till that particular point of time. Panchayat and rural development minister Gopal Bhargava raised a question against propriety behind the MLAs’ asking several questions on a same subject and termed it as wastage of time of the assembly and the government.
Speaker Sitasharan Sharma also questioned Patwari’s asking the minister to give a reply on the figures, saying that since he had not intimated the minister about the question and its reply asked in the parliament beforehand, he should not press his demand for a reply.
Home minister Bhupendra Singh, who was the minister in charge of Simhastha 2016, dared the Opposition to table their documents in the assembly if they could prove their charges.
Speaker Sitasharan Sharma adjourned the proceedings once for 10 minutes after Question Hour. However, he didn’t concede to the Opposition’s demand for the discussion. He then went ahead with the business of the House, but the Congress legislators raised their demands repeatedly for more than two hours, during which time they entered the well at least four times.
Later, talking to the media, Bachchan and Patwari alleged there had been scam of Rs 1500 crore during the Simhastha and there should be a probe into the scam by a joint committee of the ruling party as well as Opposition MLAs.
Patwari said there were in the process of seeking legal opinion to move the high court for a probe into the scam.
“We will submit the documents compiled by state Congress president Arun Yadav regarding the scam in Simhastha to President Pranab Mukherjee and other dignitaries. We have already submitted the same to the Speaker,” said Bachchan.