FOR THE Shivraj Singh Government it is indeed a ‘dream team’ to face. The BJP government couldn’t have asked for a more feeble Opposition in the Assembly.
As the Congress floundered in the brief monsoon session, the Government got away with mild chastisement on major issues like outbreak of Chikungunya and daredevil dacoities in the State Capital.
Worse, important bills on conversion and security were passed without a debate in just a few minutes. Cracks in the Congress have seldom been so glaring.
“Yes, the opposition lacked an effective strategy,” admitted Congress Legislature Party (CLP) deputy leader Sajjan Singh Verma.
He blamed the poor show partly on absence of a ‘first line of leadership’ in the House. Majority of Congress MLAs endorse Verma’s perception that absence of bigwigs like Digvijay Singh and SubhashYadav robbed the opposition of fireworks.
“I will place all the facts before the party high command in Delhi in the next couple of days,” an anguished Verma told Hindustan Times.
Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi, however, blamed the Speaker for not letting the opposition play its role effectively. “We tried to raise several issues like Chickungunya and the law and order problem but what could we do when the Speaker did not allow us to perform the role effectively?” asked a dismayed Jamuna Devi.
Echoing Jamuna Devi’s sentiments, Congress MLA Arif Aqueel said: what the Opposition could do if the referee joined hands with the ruling party.
Party MLA Satyadeo Katare, who looked surprisingly subdued in this session, was not as critical of senior leaders as Verma. For him, poor homework among Congress MLAs was one of the reasons for poor performance.
In fact It’s a combination of the factors that the Congress MLAs ascribed to the weak opposition. Absence of senior leaders coupled with lack of homework, clear strategy and coordination with other parties were visible in the session.
For instance, during the discussion on supplementary budget Govind Singh appeared in the House much after the Speaker took his name, and Jamuna Devi rose to speak before the minister’s reply.
The Speaker turned down Singh’s request to speak. On Bhopal law and order, the Opposition failed to corner the government. But the Congress stormed to the well of the House the next day on Harvallabh Shukla issue which led to adjournment for the day whereas the House was to consider seven bills including Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Amendment Bill.
A senior Congress leader said on Bhopal law and order issue only call attention motion was sought whereas the Opposition should have pressed for an adjournment motion.
Ramniwas Rawat (Congress) raised a point of order on Harvallabh Shukla issue while there was no point in raising it on a subject which was not listed in the agenda of the day.