Opposition insists on winter session, Himachal cabinet to take final call
After leaders failed to arrive at a consensus on whether the state assembly’s winter session should be deferred in view of the pandemic at the all-party meet on Friday, the Himachal Cabinet will take a final call on the matter next week.
Opposition leaders, primarily the Congress and CPI (M), were in favour of going ahead with the assembly. Leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said, “The Opposition feels there is no reason to defer the session. The decision to hold the session from December 7 to 11 has already been taken by the Cabinet and has been approved by the governor. Many issues need to be discussed urgently. Around 400 questions have already been listed.”
The meeting was presided over by parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Bhardwaj. “Traditionally the winter session of the state assembly is held in December. However, given the spike in Covid cases, many legislators had suggested deferring the session and the issue was also discussed informally in the cabinet. The Opposition is of the view that the session should be held and I will inform the chief minister about the same. The final decision will be taken by the Cabinet,’ he said.
It is possible that if the winter session is convened it may be held in Shimla instead of Dharamshala, as customary, given the situation. Bhardwaj said the Cabinet will also take a call on the venue of the session, in case it is held.”
Agnihotri said, “Earlier, it was being speculated that the winter session may be deferred till March 18, which would make it the budget session. The session is to be called within six months but there is no other possibility as the code of conduct for panchayat polls will come into force around December 15.”
“When elections are being held in the country there is no reason that the assembly should not be convened. We recently wrapped up polls in Bihar and panchayat polls are about to begin in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that marriages and other social gatherings were also going ahead as planned amid the pandemic.
Covid will be one of the main issues that will be discussed, along with hike in electricity tariffs, bus fares, national highways, and expansion of railway lines, said the leader of Opposition.