The Congress members turned up at the Chhattisgarh Assembly with black shawls draped around their neck and chest to protest against the botched sterilisation camps at Bilaspur that killed 13 women.
And it had an impact. Assembly officials were quick to remove their black coats and blazers for fear of being seen aligned with the protestors and labeled turncoats by the ministers.
“It’s a very awkward position for us,” an officer was overheard saying to his colleague while taking off his black coat.
Opposition leader TS Singhdeo told Hindustan Times, “Even though they have removed their black coats, every right-thinking official remains in support of our stand and the action”.
The Congress MLAs’ plan to attend the House in black shawls surprised officials and the ruling party members on Monday. Some senior BJP members opposed the act of the Congress but the unfazed Opposition said it was one of the ways to register their demand for the resignation of Health Minister Amar Agrawal and the Chief Minister for not dismissing Agrawal.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Raman Singh was also seen in black coat in the Assembly but he didn’t remove it.
The Health Minister tabled a white paper on sterilisation deaths in the Assembly. It said the medicines administered to the patients were of substandard quality.