Pandemonium prevailed in the House for the better part of the proceedings in the first hour of Haryana Vidhan Sabha session on Friday, with the opposition Congress seeking apology from two ministers for their “objectionable” remarks on Nehru-Gandhi family and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) demanding adjournment over the crop damage issue.
Even before the speaker could start the customary question hour at the start of the Friday’s sitting, MLAs of both the INLD and Congress interrupted the proceedings. Health minister Anil Vij, who was the instigator-in-chief on Friday also set off several rounds of noisy protests from the Congress benches.
As soon as the House assembled, the INLD MLAs, led by leader of Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala, demanded an adjournment of the question hour, seeking a discussion on farmers’ issues. They demanded higher minimum support prices and adequate compensation for crop damage due to hailstorm.
The Congress MLAs wanted an apology from health minister Anil Vij and agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar for their remarks about Nehru-Gandhi family on Thursday.
Amid uproar, speaker Kanwar Pal adourned the House for 15 minutes. Subsequently, INLD and Congress MLAs were called by the speaker to his chamber for sorting out the issues. As soon as the proceedings resumed after the break, INLD and Congress MLAs entered into a verbal clash. While Chautala explained the importance of his adjournment motion, he was interrupted by the Congress benches.
KHATTAR TO THE RESCUE
Seeing proceedings going haywire again, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar stood up to intervene. “Whatever happened on Thursday in the House was not good. Pointless arguments and counter-arguments do not serve any public interest. In fact, such disputes are not in public interest. We want this House to run for a longer duration in the people’s interest,’’ Khattar said in a bid to pacify the Congress and the INLD MLAs.
Khattar said that personal remarks, sarcasm aimed at party leaders or political parties often convey an impression that we are crossing the line. “Some words which should not have been said in the House were uttered yesterday. Thes lagti hai (It hurts people). The manner in which words are articulated matters a lot. Sometimes words spoken sarcastically can hurt a person. This should be avoided,’’ he said.
Khattar was finally able to break the deadlock when he requested the speaker to expunge all those remarks from Thursday’s proceedings which the latter deems objectionable. “I also assure on behalf of my party that all efforts to maintain the decorum and dignity of the House will be made,’’ he said.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry also assured co-operation from the Congress benches. Speaker Kanwar Pal then ordered that objectionable remarks pertaining to the Congress and the RSS be expunged from the proceedings of the House.
VIJ TRIGGERS FRESH ROW
Barely a minute or two after Khattar requested for expungement of the objectionable remarks, Health Minister sparked off another duel when he said: “I agree with what the chief minister said. But which are those objectionable words which need to be expunged. This has to be specified first”.
The Congress MLAs again stood up to counter Vij’s argument, setting off yet another round of commotion in the House. The speaker then told Vij that it was his right to decide what is objectionable and expunge. But Vij refused to relent. “But what is objectionable. Was AO Hume not the founder of the Congress party. Do you disown him”, Vij asked the Congress MLAs.
Kiran Choudhary then told Vij that he should respect the decision of the speaker and Khattar, the leader of the House. “Aap sadan se bade nahi hain (You are not greater than the House),’’ she said.
Moments later, it was the turn of Abhay Singh Chautala to set off a fresh round of commotion when he quoted Congress MLA Anand Singh Dangi as saying something. Dangi responded by saying that why his name is being taken when he never said anything. “Please get the record of assembly proceedings checked,’’ he said.
Chautala, in the meantime, snapped angrily and told him to sit down, a gesture which was disapproved by the Congress MLAs. Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal said that it was not Dangi but he (Dalal) who had remarked about INLD being the B-team of the ruling BJP.
Dalal responded to Abhay’s contention by saying that the INLD’s christening as B-team of BJP was done by the people of Haryana. “B team means bekaam. Abhay Singh should not feel bad about this,’’ he said.
INLD MLA from Ferozepur Jhirka, Naseem Ahmed countered Dalal’s claim. Finance minister Capt Abhimayu then pointed out that some Congress MLAs had used word ‘wahiyat’ (non-sense) for BJP MLAs which should also be expunged from the proceedings. Ex-CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “Any objectionable word should be removed. Speaker sir, we have complete faith in you and your judgment. Health minister Anil Vij should also abide by the ruling,’’ Hooda said.
Vij, however, remained insistent on asking what was objectionable. :Was not AO Hume the founding father of Congress party?,’’ he asked again. The Congress benches protested these remarks furiously.