Congress walks out of HP Assembly over MLAs' supension
The Congress on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Himachal Pradesh Assembly seeking the revocation of the suspension of its five MLAs, a demand opposed by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur who said "manhandling" of the Governor is an "unpardonable" act.
Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and four other Congress MLAs Harsh Vardhan Chauhan, Satpal Raizada, Sunder Singh and Vinay Kumar were on Friday suspended for the entire Budget session of the Assembly till March 20 after they allegedly manhandled Governor Bandaru Dattatraya.
The alleged incident had taken place outside the Speaker's office when the Governor was leaving for the Raj Bhavan after he cut short his address in the House following a ruckus on the opening day of the Budget session.
Speaker Vipin Parmar had also lodged a complaint with police in this regard.
On Tuesday, Congress MLA Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu moved a call attention motion in the state Assembly, demanding that the suspension of his party legislators be revoked.
He also denied the charge against his party's MLAs and claimed that Deputy Speaker Hansraj and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj had manhandled the Congress MLAs on Friday.
If their suspension is not revoked, the proceedings of the House will not be allowed to run, he added.
Reacting to it, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said "manhandling" the Governor is "unbearable and unpardonable".
Mentioning that no one is above law, the CM said the entire episode has been captured by several cameras.
Thakur said that the Leader of Opposition hit the bonnet of the Governor's car while the other Congress MLAs shouted “Governor bhag gaya, Governor bhag gaya (Governor has run away, Governor has run away).
The CM said the Congress MLAs also "manhandled" the Governor's ADC. The incident took place when the Governor's family members had come to watch the House proceedings and their faces blenched, he added.
Thakur stated that the Congress resorted to such an act as it has lost its political ground.
The CM said he and his entire cabinet apologised to the Governor for the incident but the Opposition has no shame. Defending the action by the deputy speaker, the chief minister said the entire government is with him. He did what he should have done in such circumstances, Thakur said.
On the chief minister’s request, the Speaker initiated the proceedings of the question hour at 11.55 am after the Congress staged a walkout from the House.
After the Congress walkout, Deputy Speaker Hansraj said he wants protection from the House as he is receiving threats from the Congress student wing NSUI and its "goons".
Earlier in the day, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said the suspended Congress MLAs should tender an unconditional apology to the Governor. Subsequently, the issue of their suspension may be discussed, he said.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Asha Kumari termed the proceedings of the special meeting of the Assembly regarding the episode on Friday afternoon illegal as it had been called at a notice of four minutes, which is against the rules.
The MLA said several legislators had already left the Assembly as the House was adjourned till Monday at 2 pm.
Asha Kumari said no Congress MLA tried to stop the Governor on his way to his car from the Speaker's office. On the contrary, the deputy speaker and the parliamentary Affairs minister pushed the Congress MLAs, she said.
The ruling party should have told the Opposition that the Governor won’t be reading his entire address, she added.
Meanwhile, the suspended Congress MLAs continued their dharna outside the House on the second day consecutively against the registration of an FIR against them.