A year ago when President Pranab Mukherjee, while addressing a special session of Himachal Pradesh assembly, expressed concern over repeated adjournments hampering legislative business, members of both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP listened to him attentively.
But as the monsoon session of the assembly came to an abrupt end on Tuesday amid the continued deadlock and acrimony between the two sides, the members seemed to have learnt no lessons. One expects the opposition to play a healthy role and the government to live up to expectations of people. Sadly, this is no longer the case in the state, where the assembly was once known for its high traditions.
The BJP in the state became more belligerent and offensive after registration of cases against some BJP leaders under alleged “political vendetta.”
The war of words between chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal, which has turned more personal recently, has pushed the issues of public importance in the background, at least in the House. If registration of cases against BJP leaders on the basis of the Congress chargesheet generated political heat in the state, cases pertaining to Virbhadra Singh’s income tax returns fuelled the BJP’s campaign against the government.
The BJP had been on the offensive since the last winter session held in Dharamsala wherein the opposition members staged frequent walkouts. At that time too, the cases against the chief minister came handy to the opposition to hit out at the Congress and Virbhadra Singh in particular.
The subsequent budget session was also marked by disruptions, walkouts and heated exchanges, thereby affecting the transactions of the House. The Opposition did not even participate in the debate on budget. The BJP stayed away from then House when the budget was passed. Both the Congress and the BJP at that time had spent more time in defending their top leaders Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal respectively.
On Tuesday, the assembly was adjourned sine die even as while the opposition resisted the move. The CM defended the move to adjourn the house, saying that no business was being transacted.
It is for the second time in assembly’s political history that the House was adjourned before the scheduled conclusion of the session. Earlier, the assembly was adjourned sine die in the middle of the session in 1980.
Interestingly, the development came just days ahead of the hearing in the case against the chief minister in the Delhi high court, fixed on August 20.