Rajasthan assembly Wednesday became the third, after Telangana and Bihar, to pass the State Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017. However, the passage of the bill, necessary to ensure the GST regime rollout, came amid dramatic scenes, including suspension of 14 opposition MLAs form the House for a year on charges of indiscipline.
The three-day special session called to pass the GST Bill, witnessed unruly scenes leading to Speaker twice calling in the marshals on two days to maintain order. The opposition made all efforts to corner the government on issues such as disinvestment of heritage hotels, Alwar lynching case, and controversial statements by ruling party MLAs on Ambadkar.
Miffed with the behaviour of the Opposition MLAs, Speaker Kailash Meghwal Wednesday suspended 14 MLAs after a proposal moved by the ruling side chief whip Kalu Lal Gurjar was passed by voice vote.
Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi had termed Speaker’s decision “injustice and against democracy”, while Meghwal said it was a fallout of “the unwarranted act of opposition, leading to disruption of House proceedings”.
“I was generous to the opposition and gave them protection and more time to speak but they considered this as my weakness. I will now ensure impartial action. For last three-days, the opposition has been disrupting the proceedings. It is shameful. They insulted me. It has become a habit. I will not tolerate this,” Meghwal said.
The suspension of 12 Congress members in this group was later reduced to a day after party leaders Pradyuman Singh and Narayan Singh held talks with Meghwal, chief minister Vasundhara Raje, and ministers Rajendra Rathore and Gulab Chand Kataria.
Gurjar moved a revised proposal to this effect, which too was passed.
The Speaker said that a decision on the the remaining two MLAs — independent Hanuman Beniwal and BSP’s Manoj Nyangli — will be taken later when they tender their apologies.
After the suspension was reduced, Raje said, “I thank the members of House, who approached us for talks. Members have assured that such behaviour will not happen in future.”
Later, the Speaker also stated that whatever happened was unfortunate. “Looking at the situation, I do not want to stretch it further,” he said.
Later, addressing the media, home minister Gulab Chand Kataria said the issue on which the Congress MLAs trooped to the well had no logic and Speaker’s directions were violated and uproar was created. “The Opposition had made a strategy as they were not able to digest their defeat in elections in Uttar Pradesh, Dholpur and now in Delhi,” he said.
Speaking to newspersons Dudi said what happened in the House today was “injustice”. “Marshals were called and we were pushed out and manhandled. We too have been elected by people. This government has proved to be a failure. We are not being allowed to speak,” he said.
Opposition whip Govind Singh Dotasara said that they had entered the well of the House protesting against the denial to speak. “The issues we were raising were related to public but the kind of language used (by the ruling party) shows arrogance,” he added.