Budget session: Day-5 wasted in ruckus over farm suicide jab
Chaos and bedlam marked the fifth day of Uttarakhand assembly’s budget session Saturday as the Congress and the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party members entered into heated exchange and twice nearly came to blows on the issue of farmers’ suicidedehradun Updated: Mar 24, 2018 21:43 IST
Chaos and bedlam marked the fifth day of Uttarakhand assembly’s budget session Saturday as the Congress and the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party members entered into heated exchange and twice nearly came to blows on the issue of farmers’ suicide. The House witnessed seven adjournments.
As the proceedings began, Leader of Opposition Indira Hridayesh raised the issue of farmers’ suicide. Participating in a budget debate she suggested that the BJP government initiate steps so that farmers could pay their loans in easy instalments. “If you can’t waive off farmers’ loans you should hold a meeting of bank officials so that a consensus could be reached to let them repay loans in easy installments”, she said.
Hridayesh suggested that such a meeting with officials of banks “is also represented” by the Reserve Bank of India officials. “The (BJP) government shouldn’t create a situation where farmers are forced to commit suicide,” Hridayesh said inviting sharp reaction from agriculture minister Arvind Pandey. His statement drowned in the din as all the Congress legislators, barring Hridayesh, rushed to the Well of the House with both sides trading charges.
Speaker Prem Chand Aggarawal made several appeals to maintain order. His repeated appeals though had no effect.
As the bedlam prevailed, Congress’ Karan Mehra and BJP MLA Rajkumar Thukral rushed at each other and nearly came to blows. An embarrassing situation was averted as marshals present pushed both Mehra and Thukral aside. Meanwhile, amid the ongoing din some more irate Congress and BJP legislators rushed at each other but marshals intervened. As the chaos continued, Speaker adjourned the House at 11:15am for 15 minutes, which was again adjourned twice consecutively for 15 minutes each.
When the House reassembled, finance minister Prakash Pant accused the Opposition of unnecessarily politicising the farmers’ issue. He also appealed to the Speaker to have Hridayesh’s allegations against the government expunged from the House proceedings.
“The opposition leader’s statement should be expunged because she has accused the government of motivating the farmers to commit suicide,” Pant said inviting a sharp reaction from the Leader of the Opposition. “I strongly oppose the recommendation for expunging my statement, which was made for a genuine cause,” she said. Meanwhile, minister Pandey blamed the “faulty policies pursued by the previous Congress government for the farmers’ suicides.”
The statement ended up adding fuel to fire as the Congress legislators started raising anti-government slogans and rushed to the well of the House. The Speaker again adjourned the House. As soon as the House reassembled at 1pm, state Congress president Preetam Singh accused the government of being “anti-farmer” inviting sharp reaction from the treasury benches.
Meanwhile, Hridayesh again rose from her chair stating that the BJP being the ruling party, the responsibility of maintaining order in the House rests with the latter. “While speaking on the farmers’ issue on the floor of the House, I did not mention anything provocative,” she said. Her speech drowned in the din as the members from both sides again started shouting at each other adding to the ongoing bedlam.
Meanwhile, the Speaker adjourned the House till afternoon. Incidentally, it happened to be the seventh adjournment in a day.