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Disqualification demand triggers storm

india Updated: Jul 26, 2006 13:25 IST

THE TWO-YEAR old demand to disqualify Rashtriya Samanata Dal MLA Harivallabh Shukla, who contested Lok Sabha election on the BJP ticket from Guna seat, suddenly triggered a storm in the State Assembly on Tuesday, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for a day.

The Congress members stormed into the well of the House demanding Speaker’s decision over a petition seeking disqualification of Shukla.

Speaker Ishwardas Rohani expunged all statements made on the issue and quickly finished the day’s business, including passage of seven bills by voice vote, before adjourning the House soon after question hour.

As the Congress members led by Jamuna Devi continued to raise the issue and rushed to well of the House, Ministers Narottam Mishra and Kailash Vijayvargiya rose to give a ‘befitting’ reply to the Opposition. Nothing could be heard in the din. The Congress members Sajjan Singh Verma, Ajay Singh, Arif Aqueel, Ramnivas Rawat and others continued to raise their demand and slogans till the House was adjourned.

Rejecting Congress member Ramniwas Rawat’s plea to raise a point of order after the question hour, which ended nearly 20 minutes ahead of schedule, Rohani said the move was against the rules. Rawat had submitted an application around two years ago, seeking disqualification of Shukla from the House.  Rohani also turned down a demand for allowing Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi to speak on the issue.

As opposition members stormed the well and raised slogans against the chair, Rohani termed the actions as “against rules and unlawful” and adjourned the House for the day.  Later, speaking to reporters, Jamuna Devi accused Rohani of “dictatorial behaviour” and demanded his resignation.

About two and half years have passed but the Speaker is yet to take a decision on Ramniwas Ravat’s petition, she pointed out.

Rawat had submitted a memorandum to the Speaker’s office, mentioning he had filed the petition on July 19, 2004 but no decision was taken on the same.

On the other hand, Rohani said calling the Speaker a “dictator” is against parliamentary traditions. The Speaker has the discretion to decide on the disqualification of any MLA under the anti-defection law and Rawat’s application against Harivallabh Shukla was being processed, he added.

A decision was reserved on it and the House has no role to play in the entire process, Rohani further added.  He said the Business Advisory Committee had met thrice to decide the House’ agenda. The Opposition members did not raise any such matter in the meetings.

“Since the last two-three sessions, the opposition has been targeting the Chair, instead of the treasury bench, thereby losing the opportunity to take part in important discussions,” Rohani said. “Like today, they could not take part in discussions on the Anti-Conversion Bill. It was quite an important issue.”

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