Rajasthan on Friday became the 17th state to ratify the (GST) Bill but not before the state assembly witnessed ugly scenes with Opposition Congress legislators clamouring around the Speaker’s chair protesting against cow deaths at a state-run cow shelter in Jaipur.
The Speaker told marshals to evict the unruly lawmakers out of the House and adjourned proceedings three times.
Opposition legislators were present in the House during the GST (Good and Services Tax) Bill debate but did not participate in discussions.
The short, two-day assembly session called to ratify the central bill, was adjourned sine die after the ratification.
The Congress members stalled the proceedings of the House, demanding a CBI probe into the cow deaths at Hingonia shelter run by the Jaipur Municipal Corporation.
Congress lawmakers marched to assembly with placards that said “gau mata hum sharminda hai, tere katil satta mein hai (mother cow, we are ashamed that your killers are in the government)”.
As soon as the House assembled, Opposition members stormed the well of the House demanding a debate over the cow deaths and corruption. This led to chaos. Some Congress legislators tried to climb up to the dais near the Speaker’s chair, forcing the Speaker to call in marshals.
Amid pandemonium, parliamentary affair minister Rajendra Rathore requested the Speaker to start the question hour. “It has become a habit of the Congress to create hurdles in the functioning of the House,” he said.
“The government will answer them if they follow rules.”
Deputy whip of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the House Madan Rathore said more than 5,000 cows died during the Congress rule in 2000. “I have documents to prove it,” he said, adding that the Congress was protesting against the cow deaths, to be in news.
Marshals pushed Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi and there was a brief scuffle. Later, marshals Opposition legislators out of the House before the House was adjourned.
Addressing reporters outside the assembly, Dudi said, “The Speaker is acting as a tool of the government. This has happened for the first time in Rajasthan. We were raising people’s issues but we were pushed, punched and evicted from the House. The government is scared of discussion as the chief minister will have to resign.”
He further said that the House was to run until August 7 but “the government scooted on the second day itself”.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that Leader of the Opposition has never been manhandled in the House.
“The Speaker could have adjourned the House and there was no need to call in marshals,” he said.
“Marshals evicting lawmakers cannot happen without the chief minister’s direction.”
The BJP, however, blamed the Opposition for the unruly scenes. “They did not heed to the Speaker’s request of maintaining order in the House,” said Rathore.
“The cow deaths case is in court and cannot be discussed in the assembly.”