The last day of the Delhi Assembly's winter session turned into a slugfest with the Congress-led government and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at each other’s throats.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was replying to the no-confidence motion resolution moved against by her by the BJP.
“We were hoping that there would be some concrete criticism. But their allegations were all based on newspaper reports and all their figures were incorrect,” she said.
“What was the purpose of this no-confidence motion? The people had sent us to the assembly with a thumping majority,” she added.
Dikshit then countered the Opposition's refrain on the Congress exploiting Mahatma Gandhi's name with one of her own. “The ideology of your party had led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid,” she said. The statement seemed to have raised the hackles of BJP MLAs who started shouting slogans in response and making allegations of corruption against the government.
At this, Matia Mahal MLA Shoaib Iqbal, of the Lok Janshakti Party, protested. “The Congress and BJP are politicising this issue,” he said. The protest turned more strident from here and Iqbal even climbed onto his desk and continued to disrupt the proceeding of the House. Marshals had to be summoned to take him outside.
Later Delhi Assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri named BJP MLAs for disrupting the proceedings on a request made by Delhi Transport Minister A.S. Lovely.
Being named is a disciplinary act and the named MLAs have to leave the House. The Speaker later invited the BJP MLAs back to the House, but the latter decided to stay away.
Later speaking on the issue of price rise in Delhi, Dikshit said inflation was a worldwide phenomenon in the aftermath of the economic slowdown and was not limited to the city.
"Delhi is still cheaper than many other Indian cities,” she said.
And on curbing pollution in the city, Dikshit said the government was taking measures to contain air and water pollution, along with increasing the green cover in Delhi.
“Till we do not simplify our way of living to make it environment friendly – these agendas will remain meaningless,” said Dikshit.
The government cleared the proposed hike in VAT rates for items under the four per cent slab, apart from passing the amendments in the Entertainment and Betting Act and the Bill on bed and breakfast establishments.