17 BJP members and a lone independent suspended from monsoon session for disrupting house

It was chaos in the Vidhan Sabha on the opening day of the monsoon session as protesting 17 BJP members and an independent were physically evicted from the well of the house. The speaker suspended the entire opposition and the lone independent member for the remaining two days of the monsoon session.

The opposition was demanding suspension of the question hour. Instead they were seeking a discussion on an adjournment motion regarding corruption issues highlighted in an audio CD that allegedly contained the voices of chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife, Pratibha Singh and a TV exposé in which former minister GS Bali was shown attending a controversial late night party.

Earlier the session opened with members paying their obituary tributes to former Prime Minister Chander Shekar and congressman Gain Chand Totu and as speaker Gangu Ram Musaffir opened the floor to take up the shortened question hour, leader of BJP group Ishwar Dass Dhiman was on his feet demanding that the house take up an adjournment motion, which he had moved.

Not satisfied with the speaker’s response that the motion was under consideration, the opposition members were on their legs, shouting slogans. The treasury members choose to ignore the protest and in the din decided to push the question hour through. The agitated opposition then trooped into the well and stepped up sloganeering, which failed to disrupt proceedings.

With the protest not fetching any response from the treasury benches or the speaker, the opposition sat down on the floor of the house and began enacting a mock play, reading out a script about a phone conversation.

This act of the opposition provoked the ruling party and parliamentary affairs minister Kaul Singh Thakur demanded that the speaker take action by suspending the members from the house. After failing to bring about order, the speaker named the 18 members and asked the marshal to physically remove them. With some of the older members choosing to be led out, Hari Narain Singh, Rajiv Bindal and Mohinder Singh were lifted from the well of the house by the marshals.

With the house cleared of the opposition members, the chief minister condemned the unparliamentary behaviour of the BJP legislators. Vibhardra said that the matter of the audio CD was before the courts and he filed a defamation suit against Vijay Singh Mankotia and it was for him to prove the authenticity of its contents. Regarding the Bali episode, he said the high court had already constituted a judicial probe into the matter.

BJP president and MLA, Jai Ram Thakur condemned the attitude of the house in suspending the entire opposition for the whole session. He said “no effort was made to mediate and involve the opposition in resolving the issue.”

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