All 27 MLAs of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the lone SAD legislator present in the Haryana assembly were suspended from the day's proceedings of the House on Wednesday after speaker Kuldeep Sharma named them.
The INLD-SAD MLAs, who were protesting against certain "inappropriate" remarks of the speaker against one of their MLAs, assembled in the well of the House, forcing the speaker to order two 15-minute adjournments of the House. The protesting MLAs raised slogans such as "Tanashahi nahi chalegi (We won't tolerate dictatorship)."
INLD MLAs spar with speaker
They demanded that the speaker should apologise for the remark he made at INLD MLA Krishan Lal Pawar. But, the speaker said he only asked Panwar to "leave the matter" (Arrey chodo na) and there was nothing objectionable in this. "Yeh dadagiri yahan nahi chalegi. You are looking for an excuse to run away from the House," the speaker said in response to raucous protests by the INLD MLAs.
The Congress MLAs also queued up in the passageway along the treasury benches to counter the INLD attack. The speaker had a heated argument with Abhey Chautala, INLD MLA from Ellenabad, who was leading the protest.
"Aap speaker ko dhamkaa rahe ho (Are you trying to intimidate the speaker?)," Sharma asked Chautala. Tempers ran high and noise decibels soared as the speaker and the INLD MLAs came face-to-face.
Later outside the House, Chautala told mediapersons that Congress MLA Naresh Sharma had first made an uncharitable remark on a Dalit INLD MLA. "The speaker is the custodian of the House. All members are equal before him. But his conduct towards one of our MLAs was not appropriate. He should also adhere to what he preaches," he said.
Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, however, defended the speaker at a press conference in the press lounge. "The speaker did not use foul language. Anyone can take out the record of the assembly and verify,'' Hooda said.
Adjournment motions, which never came about
Trouble started during the zero hour when the speaker announced that the two adjournment motions - first moved by Congress MLA Sampat Singh on importance of probity and uprightness in public life (in view of conviction of INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala in JBT recruitment case) and the second moved by INLD MLAs Ram Pal Majra, Ashok Arora and others regarding irregularities in the purchase of land in Haryana by Skylight Hospitality and the related controversy - would be taken up by the House on Wednesday.
Majra said since the matter being raised by Sampat Singh was subjudice, the speaker should disallow the adjournment motion. Majra quoted provisions of Rule of Procedure for the conduct of business in the House to substantiate his contention. "Earlier, when we wanted to discuss a similar matter pertaining to the arrest of former minister Gopal Kanda, the speaker had turned down our request saying that the matter was subjudice," he said.
INLD MLAs joined Majra in making a noisy protest on the issue. BJP MLA Anil Vij, too, joined the chorus, saying the government could not bring an adjournment motion. When the speaker said Sampat Singh was an MLA and not the government, Vij remarked: "Sampat Singh sarkaari aadmi hain (Sampat Singh is a government's man)."
Anand Singh Dangi, Congress MLA from Meham, said Sampat's adjournment motion be allowed since the House wanted to know what this subjudice matter was.
Parliamentary affairs minister Randeep Singh Surjewala said it was incorrect to say the matter was subjudice. "The trial in this matter is over. The conviction and sentence has been pronounced by the court. Only an appeal is pending before a higher court of law. We are not discussing the merits of appeal. This case cannot be compared with that of Gopal Kanda in which an FIR was lodged at that time," Surjewala said.
He said: "We upheld probity in public life. When FIRs were registered against our ministers OP Jain and Gopal Kanda and chief parliamentary secretary Zile Ram Sharma, they all resigned from their posts."
INLD and Congress MLAs again entered into a series of heated arguments on the issue with Naresh Sharma, Congress MLA from Badli, leading the chorus. "They are wasting the House's time. In fact, they are preparing a ground to flee from the House," he ridiculed.
Surjewala sprung to his feet and asked the speaker to bolt the doors of the House from inside so that INLD MLAs could not run away. "Don't allow them to run,'' he said.
Issue got diverted, again
The issue again got diverted when INLD MLAs objected to Congress MLA Sampat Singh using Professor as a prefix to his name. To this, the speaker asked INLD benches as to why they had an objection to Singh being called a Professor.
The MLA himself tried to clear the air by saying that he was called Professor as he used to teach in Dayanand College and Jat College. Soon, Congress MLA Naresh Sharma jumped in to defend Singh. "Sampat was once your (INLD) frontline leader. He was instrumental in showing you the correct path. But he rightly rejected the policies and programmes of INLD," he said. On hearing this, the INLD MLAs ridiculed Sharma by asking him: "Did you take lessons from Sampat."
When Singh responded by saying that INLD MLAs were sitting in a dwelling which was painstakingly built by people like him, Abhey Chautala objected. "How can he speak like this? Yeh galat bol raha hai," Chautala said. Sampat, too, objected to Chautala's diction.
"I know their language and diction. They even defamed Chaudhary Devi Lal when they said that he also went to the jail. I cannot tolerate this and I still follow in his footsteps. The same cannot be said about the INLD leaders," Sampat said.
After a ruckus broke out over the speaker's remark on Pawar, Surjewala said behaviour of Opposition was unparliamentary and they were attempting to browbeat the speaker. INLD state chief Ashok Arora said it was shocking to see Congress MLA Naresh Sharma making casteist remarks.
Tempers ran high as several INLD MLAs, including Jagdish Nayyar, Rajbir Barara, Rameshwar Dayal, Krishan Panwar, Phool Singh, Pradeep Chaudhary and Mohd Ilyas, squat in the well of the House and raised slogans. The house sank in complete din as various Congress MLAs - Shakuntala Khatak, Jaiveer Balmiki, Anil Dhantori, Aftab Ahmed and Anita Yadav - also raised slogans. Thereafter, the speaker adjourned the house for 15 minutes.
On resumption, Surjewala sought an apology from the INLD MLAs, especially Abhey Chautala and Ashok Arora, for speaking in disrespectful manner to the speaker.