Amid walkout, HP Assembly adopts Bill providing for MC polls on party symbol
The state Assembly on Monday adopted the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation, (Amendment) Act, 2021, providing for election to municipal corporations on party symbol and reservation for other backward classes for the mayor’s post, despite the Opposition staging a walkout.
The Bill was introduced in the house and put up for discussion by urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj after the question hour. Raising an objection, Congress legislator from Kinnaur Jagat Singh Negi asked why the government wanted to delegate powers to deputy commissioners in some matters. He also demanded that the bill should be sent to a select committee of the Vidhan Sabha before passing.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator Rakesh Singha said the Bill that was brought in haste was driven by political motivation rather than legal logic. “The new laws give powers to deputy commissioners whom the government can easily influence. If the government shows the force of majority and tries to pass this law in this form, I will not hesitate to approach the court,” he said.
Responding to the Opposition’s objections, Bhardwaj said there was a need to enact a law regarding the municipal corporation as four new civic bodies had been formed in the state. “There is a provision in the law of the corporation that says elections can be held on the political party’s election symbol. Deputy commissioners have been conferred powers related to disqualification. This provision can be made so that no officer below the rank of deputy commissioner can exercise the disqualification clause. As far as reservation is concerned, it is a provision in the Act,” said Bhardwaj.
Kinnaur legislator Negi again raised an objection stating that the Bill was not tabled in the house giving time to the legislator to study it.
“It was not there on the e-Vidhan portal. Opposition members were not even aware of it. Therefore, the Bill should be sent to the Select Committee for rectification. If government wants to pass the bill forcefully then it is wrong. This is a black law,” he said.
Countering the allegation, Bhardwaj said that the Bill was introduced in the house as per the rules, to which leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said an amendment to the Bill can be passed even after two days. “The amendments in the law have been brought as per the law ,” said Bhardwaj.
The Bill was passed with voice vote amid the walkout by Congress leaders and the CPI(M) legislator.