Are you satisfied with the manner proceedings of the State Assembly are conducted? There is definitely a feeling that we are being discriminated against. I said on the last day of this session that the Opposition does not get a chance to raise issues of public interest. We also staged a walk out in protest.
Is the Speaker fair in his conduct?
Not always. The Governor had remarked in his speech during the MP Assembly’s golden jubilee function that the Speaker is supposed to speak less and allow the Opposition to speak more. But, this is not happening in the House. Duration of the Assembly sessions in the BJP regime is an average of 10-12 days and it is curtailed further.
Does the Opposition have no issue to grill the government on?
We don’t get enough chance to raise the issues we plan to raise. More than 60 per cent of issues on which we had given call attention or adjournment notices were not taken up at all. The BJP leaders don’t want to listen to anybody about anything. It is in their habit.
Lack of coordination among Opposition members is more than evident. It seems everyone is speaking for oneself and not on behalf of the Opposition. Do you prepare a strategy with fellow MLAs on how to take on the government in right earnest?
I try. But, it is not always successful. Lack of floor coordination is definitely a source of embarrassment at times. It seems either Congress leaders don’t have understanding of conducting themselves in the Opposition or they avoid putting ministers in the dock.
We are not a compromised Opposition, if this is what you areimplying. Having said this, I do admit that the ruling party and even bureaucrats seek to manipulate things in their own way to deflect possible criticism in the House. Sometimes they succeed.
As far as the charge of the Congress not knowing how to conduct itself in Opposition, it is false. The Congress has always raised issues of public interest whether in power or in Opposition.
You have a miniscule presence in the House. Yet, more than half of Congress legislators including senior leaders remain absent almost all through the sessions. Doesn’t it take away whatever strength you have in the State Assembly?
Yes. We shall work towards ensuring presence of all our MLAs in the House in future.