Day 1 of Himachal’s monsoon session: Congress, BJP spar over corona crisis

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Updated on Sep 08, 2020 01:04 AM IST
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Hindustan Times/Shimla | ByGaurav Bisht, Shimla

Himachal’s monsoon session commenced on a fiery note on Monday with the ruling BJP and the opposition sniping at each other over the handling of the Covid-19 crisis in the state.

After the House paid tributes to departed leaders, the CM informed the House of the business for the day. However, speaker Vipin Singh Parmar asked the CM to tell the assembly about the government’s handling of the corona crisis.

Objecting, leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said his party had already given notice under Rule 67, demanding suspension of business to discuss the Covid crisis and that the matter was not being raised in a correct manner. He was supported by other members of the opposition.

Pandemonium prevailed in the House as the opposition raised slogans for over 15 minutes . Parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj tried to pacify the opposition, to no avail.

When Bhardwaj said the opposition had nothing concrete to contribute to the discussion, they started raising slogans.

Later, the speaker agreed to suspend business, which pacified the opposition. However, then BJP members resorted to sloganeering, which provoked the opposition , who started raising counter slogans.

When forest minister Rakesh Pathania repeatedly came to the CM’s defence, a heated exchange ensued between Agnihotri and the minister.

In response to Agnihotri’s charge that the government had abjectly failed in handling the Covid-19 crisis, the CM said the government had done an excellent job on that front.

Agnihotri said the government’s actions were reminiscent of the emergency and that people were booked for sedition during the period.

The CM, in turn, accused the opposition of resorting to ‘cheap politics’ over the pandemic. All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary and Dalhousie legislator Asha Kumari targeted the government over wasteful expenditure during the crisis.

Agnihotri raised the issue of Rajeev Bindal’s resignation from the post of BJP state president after a corruption scandal came to light.

He asked why Bindal was forced to resign.

“A scam took place in the health department under the nose of the CM. Raincoats were distributed instead of personal protective kits,” the Congress leader said.

The CM said Bindal had resigned because of his moral values after the opposition created hullabaloo. He said Bindal had set a precedent for others.

Referring to the allegations against social justice and empowerment minister Sarveen Chaudhary, he said there was an ongoing investigation against the minister and as such the government should reveal how much land was purchased by her. He also demanded that the entire cabinet, including the chief minister resign. Thakur said the opposition had earlier sought resignation from Bindal and when he resigned, they started gunning for his resignation. Thakur said he had never spoken about the vigilance bureau probing the land deal. “I had only said that a complaint was received, which is being examined.”

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Monday, December 06, 2021