There was pandemonium in the Himachal assembly during its ongoing monsoon session on Thursday after the Bharatiya Janata Party lodged a protest over the alleged attack on its state headquarters in Shima on January 29. Opposition members sought an adjournment motion, demanding discussion on the issue and raising slogans, and staged a walkout but later returned to the house.
Soon after house assembled for the day, the BJP's chief whip, Suresh Bhardwaj, wanted to know about the adjournment motion moved by the party under rule 67 to discuss the alleged attack on the BJP office by state Youth Congress activists led by its chief, Vikramaditya, who is Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's son.
Bhardwaj described incident involving violence outside the party office as an "attack on democracy and the party". He was joined by Nahan MLA Rajiv Bindal while assembly speaker Brij Bihari Lal Buitail intervened and asked opposition members to take their seats. Butail told the house two separate notices had been given by BJP members under rule 62 and 67 and he had decided to allow the discussion on the issue under rule 62, which agitated opposition members who sought suspension of the business listed for transaction in the house. The speaker told them the chair had yet to decide on the adjournment motion.
The notice for the adjournment motion had been given by Satpal Singh Satti, Ravinder Ravi, Rikhi Ram Kaundal, Rajiv Bindal and Suresh Bhardwaj. However, the speaker rejected the motion saying the matter could be discussed under any other different rule other than 67. Adamant on the matter, state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti and former irrigation minister Ravinder Singh Ravi insisted on a discussion on the incident.
Intervening on the issue, parliamentary affairs minister Mukesh Agnihotri said the opposition had sought adjournment 18 times since the house met during the past two years.
The leader of the opposition, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, also asked the chair to consider the adjournment notice, while former public works department minister Mohinder Singh Thakur withdrew the notices served under rule 62 to draw the government's attention on the alleged attack on the BJP office.
Amidst the chaos that delayed the question hour by almost 40 minutes, the speaker asked treasury benches to take up business. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and other ministers replied to the question raised by legislators as the hardly anything could be heard inside house. In between opposition members trooped to the well of the house and resorted to sloganeering right in front of Virbhadra's seat. Later the opposition members staged a walkout.
Interestingly when Virbhadra clarified the government's stance on the incident, opposition members returned to the house. One after the other they sought discussions on the alleged attack on the BJP office.
CM dances in assembly, mimics opposition's slogans
Amidst uproarious scenes the house witnessed some hilarious moments amid the pandemonium in the assembly. Members broke into laughter when Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, known for his political acumen and sense of humour, danced to the rhythms of slogans being raised against him by opposition members in the well of the house.
Opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal also loaded his speech with sarcasm when he took a jibe at Virbhadra for his "Punjabi" links. "When I was chief minister Congress party members use to sing Punjabi songs inside the house. I hope I'm well versed in Punjabi by now and I'm sure you are also understanding it well, "he said pointing towards Virbhadra whose daughter recently tied the knot with the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh.