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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Bitterness and bonhomie in Haryana assembly: INLD MLAs cry ‘suppression of voice’ by speaker

Wear paper strips on their mouths during question hour to register their protest; join hands with Congress benches to counter BJP govt.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2017 14:58 IST

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Indian National Lok Dal MLAs wearing paper strips on their mouths as a mark of protest in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday.
Indian National Lok Dal MLAs wearing paper strips on their mouths as a mark of protest in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLAs decried what they termed as “suppression of voice” by the speaker while covering their mouths with papers during the question hour on the concluding day of the three-day assembly session on Wednesday.

The protesting INLD legislators claimed that the speaker was not allowing them to speak at the behest of treasury benches. Wearing paper strips labelled – “Bolna Mana Hai”(Not allowed to speak) on their mouths, they sat quietly for the most part of the question hour as a mark of protest.

The initial part of the day’s proceedings also saw an unusual bonhomie between the INLD and Congress benches.

On Tuesday, INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala had entered into a verbal spat with the speaker when the former tried to speak for Congress MLA Lalit Nagar who had alleged threats to his life by someone close to a BJP leader from Faridabad.

The speaker had told Chautala that he cannot get up every now and then to speak, prompting members of the principal opposition to come up with the “self-imposed gag” a day after.

In a bid to persuade the INLD MLAs to uncover their mouths, parliamentary affairs minister Ram Bilas Sharma said they should not keep the paper strips on the mouths for too long. “It could actually create a medical situation due to restriction of air flow,’’ Sharma said.

Health minister Anil Vij too joined Sharma taking swipes at the INLD benches: “I hope you have not adopted Jainism… And I hope it’s not due to an illness.”

Responding to Vij’s remarks, Congress MLA Geeta Bhukkal said the he should not disrespect any religion. “The ruling party MLAs should also allow the INLD members to speak.’’She was joined by her party MLA Lalit Nagar.

CM pacifies Chautala, finally

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar made an appeal to the INLD benches to remove the gags to which Chautala agreed. “A protest should be symbolic.. It should not create bitterness,’’ Khattar said.

Chautala told Khattar that they (INLD) were not to be blamed for the bitterness. “You will have to dive deep to understand the underlying cause. I was told by the speaker that I cannot stand up and speak. As the leader of the opposition, it was my duty to speak about the threats issued to Congress MLA Lalit Nagar. A person known as “mama” is threatening to kill Nagar. Even BJP MLA Moolchand Sharma spoke about it yesterday. It is the duty of the government to provide protection to an MLA,’’ he said.

On this, the CM said the state government has taken notice of the allegations and was getting them verified. “The House cannot take action on allegations immediately,’’ he said.

“Everyone here a mama”

When parliamentary affairs minister Sharma joked saying “everyone here a mama”, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), Kiran Choudhry objected. “The matter is being trivialised. You are making fun of this issue,’’ she said.

Deputy leader of the INLD legislature group, Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, too joined Choudhry by saying that the ruling benches were “non-serious” about the issues. “I object to the remarks made by the health minister where he said that we were probably suffering from an illness,’’Sandhu said.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 14:55 IST

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