Deadlock continued in Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha on the fourth day of its monsoon session with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staging a walkout over the speaker's refusal to allow a discussion over the Centre's submission in Delhi high court that there is enough evidence for a money laundering case against chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
As soon as the House assembled for the day's proceedings, speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail requested the members to cooperate in the smooth conduct of the proceedings in the House as the House has been witnessing pandemonium during its sittings last week.
Butail asked members to raise various issues as per the rules of the Vidhan Sabha. “I cannot allow the members to raise issues which are pending in the court. Let the law take its own course,” said Butail while urging the legislators to respect the rules of the Vidhan Sabha and desist from disrupting the House.
The speaker was categorical that members discuss the issues of public importance. He said that it was the duty of the members to raise issues concerning the public.
BJP legislator from Shimla Suresh Bhardwaj, who's also the chief whip of the opposition party, urged the speaker to allow discussion on the money laundering case against chief minister Virbhadra Singh under the adjournment motion moved by the opposition under rule 67.
Bhardwaj said that the opposition members have full respect for the chair of speaker. He questioned the speaker's move to allow the chief minister give a statement in the House over the issue even as he disallowed a discussion on the same issue as demanded by the opposition.
Bhardwaj also referred to newspaper reports highlighting the income tax returns of Virbhadra Singh. He contended that when the newspapers can report on the income tax returns of the chief minister why can't the same be discussed in the assembly.
He alleged that it was apparent from the behavior of the ruling party that it was not interested in the smooth running of Vidhan Sabha.
The speaker that said that as the leader of the House, the chief minister can make any statement on the floor of the assembly . He said that Virbhadra Singh's statement did not refer to his cases pending in the court. Rather, he gave a clarification on some media reports concerning him.
Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal contended that the speaker's statement was self-contradictory . “On one hand, you allowed the chief minister to make statement in the House, on the other you say that the matter is subjudice,” said Dhumal while urging the speaker to review his decision to reject the opposition party's demand for discussion.
BJP legislator from Dharampur Mahender Singh Thakur and Nahan MLA Rajiv Bindal also insisted that a debate be allowed on the issue.
Meanwhile, Jawalamukhi legislator Sanjay Rattan (Congress) started raising slogans against the opposition members. Bilaspur legislator Bhumber Thakur also made some comments against the opposition, which further provoked the BJP MLAs.
The opposition members also raised slogans against Virbhadra Singh. While the ruling members took to their seats after the speaker's intervention, the slogan-shouting BJP members staged a walk out from the House in the midst of the question hour .