The Himachal Vidhan Sabha was adjourned for 15 minutes following uproar by opposition Bharatiya Janata Party over a “notification” issued by the government seeking details about party affiliations of elected members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
Commotion in the House began after former rural development minister and legislator from Seraj Jairam Thakur raised questions about termination of PRI representatives during the Congress regime. Thakur wanted to know how many PRI representatives have been suspended or terminated from January 1 to July 31.
Replying to the question, rural development and panchayati raj minister Anil Sharma said 15 PRI representatives were suspended, while three were terminated under Section 145 of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1994. Thakur said termination of PRI members had become a norm in the Congress government.
Thakur questioned the minister's reply saying that information was “half-truth”. He said many PRI representatives had been suspended during the seven months' tenure of the Congress.
Thakur further accused the government of mounting pressure on PRI representatives during bypoll to Mandi parliamentary segment. He alleged that the PRI members were forced to toe the party line during the elections. He added that efforts were on to undermine the PRI institutions and the representatives owing allegiance to the BJP. He said PRI members were being framed in false cases.
Thakur added that the government had issued notification seeking details about the party affiliations of PRI members.
Sharma denied that the government had issued any notification in this regard, which further triggered commotion in the House. All BJP members were on their toes raising slogans against the government. The opposition legislators soon took out pamphlets from their pockets that read “Badla Badli Sarkar Nahin Chalengi”.
Speaker Brij Bihari Butail made a bid to pacify the agitated members, but to no avail. Amid pandemonium, Sharma replied that the circular which was issued by the district panchayat officer had been withdrawn, but the BJP members continued with sloganeering.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh tried to intervene, but the BJP legislators did not pay heed to him and continued raising slogans.
Former IPH minister Ravinder Singh Ravi showed a copy of the Hindustan Times carrying news report “Complaints of IAS officer fall on deaf ears”.
He said, “One can imagine the states of affairs of the government from inaction on complaints of IAS officer Yunus. Raising slogans, the BJP members left the house.
The House was adjourned for 15 minutes. On resumption of the House, the chief minister castigated the BJP's uproar. He termed it as part of a pre-planned strategy and said pot was calling the kettle black. He said the action was taken under Sections 149 and 146 of the Panchayati Raj Act. He said action against PRI representatives was not taken on political grounds.
Drawing parallel, he said the PRI representatives were terminated and suspended during the previous government regime without even giving an opportunity to them to explain their position. Condemning the BJP's uproar, he said it was against the traditions of the House.
The speaker condemned the BJP legislators for bringing placards and published material in the House without the permission of the Chair. He said legislators should live up to the reputation of the Vidhan Sabha countrywide.