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Opposition creates ruckus in the Uttarakhand assembly on Lokayukta issue

Uttarakhand assembly winter session: The opposition Congress demanded that the BJP government appoint the Lokayukta within the next 30 days.

dehradun Updated: Dec 07, 2018 15:38 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
uttarakhand,uttarakhand assembly,lokayukta bill
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat arrives at the Uttarakhand assembly to attend the winter session in Dehradun on Thursday. (HT Photo )

The Uttarakhand assembly witnessed noisy scenes on the Lokayukta Bill issue on Thursday with members of the Congress creating bedlam in the House accusing the BJP government of “deliberately avoiding to enact the anti-graft law as it is patronising corruption”.

The Congress also demanded that the BJP government appoint the Lokayukta within the next 30 days.

As soon as the House met at 11am, Leader of the Opposition Indira Hridayesh demanded that the Chair “permits” a debate on the long pending Lokayukta Bill under rule 310. She also reminded the House that the BJP had promised ahead of the 2017 assembly election that it would enact the anti-graft law within 100 days of coming to power.

“But it’s been about two years since that party (BJP) formed the government but the latter has kept the Lokayukta Bill in abeyance,” Hridayesh said.

She demanded that a debate be urgently allowed in the House on the proposed Lokayukta law stating that it was an issue of utmost public importance.

Speaker Premchand Aggrawal urged the Opposition members to let the Question Hour continue assuring that a debate on the Lokayukta Law would be allowed.

Meanwhile, irate opposition members trooped into the well of the House raising slogans in favour of their demand.

Congress president Pritam Singh joined them demanding that the Speaker cancel the Question Hour so that a debate on the proposed anti-graft law was possible.

Hridayesh said even the ruling party members “are hurt” that the BJP government was not enacting a strong Lokayukta Bill that the ruling party had promised before the last state elections. She alleged that the BJP government instead of fulfilling its promise referred the proposed anti-graft law to the select committee for no rhyme or reason just days after it took charge.

“It’s been about two years since then and they have not called a meeting to discuss the Lokayukta Bill,” Hridayesh alleged.

She alleged that the government instead “claims” that such a law was not required, falsely claiming that it was vigorously pursuing its policy of zero tolerance for corruption.

Hridayesh was referring to the statement frequently repeated by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.

“Instead this (BJP) government jailed those who exposed corruption through a sting operation,” Hridayesh said indirectly referring to an editor of a Dehradun-based TV channel.

With the pressure mounting, the Speaker relented a bit stating that he would allow a debate under rule 58 after the Question Hour instead of allowing it under rule 310 as demanded by the Opposition. At his request, the Opposition members took their seats.

Hridayesh stuck to her guns stating that the Question Hour was an important opportunity for carrying out a debate on the proposed anti-graft law.

Reacting to the statement, parliamentary affairs minister Prakash Pant said a debate on the Lokayukta Bill was allowed every time the Opposition ‘raises’ a debate on the floor of the House.

He urged Opposition members to let the Question Hour continue.

“Ignoring the Question Hour would set a bad precedent,” Pant said, adding that after the select committee had returned Lokaykta Bill the latter had become a property of the House.

“Consequently, whenever the House would wish it the anti-graft law would be passed,” he said. The request though had no impact on the irate Opposition members who kept on creating din.

Meanwhile, BJP legislator Munna Singh Chauhan asked the Opposition members to cite one House rule that that permits them to decide when a particular Bill would be enacted.

The statement ended up adding fuel to fire prompting all the irate Congress members to again troop into the well of the House.

It is only after creating the ruckus for about half-an-hour that the irate Congress members agreed to the Speaker’s request.

Later, participating in the debate on the proposed anti-graft law both Hridayesh and Pritam Singh accused the BJP government of patronising corruption.

“This (BJP) government is not enacting the anti-graft law because it is fully immersed in corruption,” Singh said.

First Published: Dec 07, 2018 15:37 IST