Ruckus in Delhi Assembly over Article 370,leader of opposition suspended
BJP MLAs Gupta, OP Sharma, Jagdish Pradhan and Manjinder Singh Sirsa came down to the well of the House with placards to protest. They were countered by the Speaker and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators who asserted that the issue had nothing to do with the Delhi Assembly.Updated: Aug 25, 2019 07:40 IST
The second day of Delhi Assembly’s monsoon session began on a tumultuous note as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) MLAs stormed the well of the House demanding a discussion on the Centre’s recent move to strip Jammu & Kashmir of its special status. The move resulted in the suspension of leader of opposition Vijender Gupta from the entire session that is scheduled to end on Monday and also prompted BJP MLAs to protest outside the chief minister’s chamber inside the Assembly.
As soon as the session began on Friday afternoon, all four BJP MLAs started to urge Speaker Ram Niwas Goel to initiate a discussion and pass a “congratulatory resolution” in the House for the division of Jammu & Kashmir into two union territories — Ladakh and J&K — during the question hour. When the Speaker refused to grant permission for the same, BJP MLAs Gupta, OP Sharma, Jagdish Pradhan and Manjinder Singh Sirsa came down to the well of the House with placards to protest. They were countered by the Speaker and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators who asserted that the issue had nothing to do with the Delhi Assembly.
When tensions did not subside, Goel summoned the marshals to first escort Sirsa out of the House, followed by Gupta.
“The chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) has already congratulated the Centre on the issue of Article 370. It has been debated on in Parliament and it is a national issue,” Goel said to the House while marshals arrived to take Gupta away.
Gupta then made a remark which the Speaker said was “unparliamentary” and ordered his suspension for two days. Following this, the remaining BJP MLAs — Sharma and Pradhan — staged a walk-out. Within a few minutes, AAP MLA Nitin Tyagi moved a motion to suspend Gupta for the remaining part of the monsoon session for “defying the directions of the Chair”.
Later, speaking in the House, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia condemned the behaviour of the BJP MLAs in the House. “The issue of Article 370 is a thing of the past. What is there to be discussed when there is no difference of opinion on this issue, especially when the CM himself has welcomed the Centre’s move. The opposition’s act is to deflect attention from the other important issues in Delhi such as ration, liquor, electricity and so on,” he said.
Wi-Fi and Electricity
During the session, urban development minister Satyendar Jain informed the House that the Public Works Department (PWD) on Friday floated its first tender to begin its flagship Wi-Fi project.
“From free water and electricity to CCTV cameras,we have fulfilled all our promises . Today, we have floated tenders for the Wi-Fi project,” he said in the Assembly. The minister later said the tender will be sealed by October and the project is likely to take off from November.
Providing free Wi-Fi in public spaces was a key poll promise of the AAP during the 2015 assembly elections. On August 8, Kejriwal had announced that the Cabinet had approved setting up of 11,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots in the city that would allow smartphone and computer users to use 15GB of data every month at a maximum speed of 200mbps.
The House on Friday also discussed the reforms carried out by the AAP government in the electricity sector. During this, Jain, who is also Delhi’s power minister, said if the Centre agreed to their long-pending demand of increasing the national Capital’s share in Central taxes, then all Delhiites can be provided free electricity for five years.
First Published: Aug 24, 2019 00:00 IST