Shimla: Taking offense to remarks by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal widely reported in the media, opposition congress members protested in the Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday by shouting slogans and attempted to disrupt the house proceedings.
Lambasting the opposition for resorting to a protest Padyatra over allegations of corruption against his government, Dhumal was reported to have remarked â€˜Chor Machaye Shorâ€™.
As the assembly assembled for the dayâ€™s listed business, leader of opposition Vidya Stokes got up and demanded an apology from the chief minister over the remarks.
With the chief minister not obliging and the speaker failing to persuade the opposition to forgo the demand, all 23 opposition MLAs marched into the well of the house and started raising anti government slogans.
Offended by slogans, the ruling benches were seen showing some papers and laying claim that it contained details of Wikileaks disclosure about the congress party.
Though harassed by the constant disturbance caused by the opposition sloganeering, later the treasury benches decided to go about the morningâ€™s business and the question hours was held amidst pandemonium.
With congress members not participating, questions listed against their names for the day were treated as absent.
With the speaker failing to bring about order and amidst all the lawmakers bedlam, the government managed to lay three bills in the house.
Before adjourning the house for lunch, Speaker Tulsi Ram had offensive remarks and slogans made in the house expunged from the records.
Congress hold protest rally
Having failed to disrupt the house proceedings, the opposition members marched out of the assembly to join the party protest marchers (Padyatra), who after having walked from Solan in three days were assembled at nearby Chaura Maidan for a concluding demonstration.
As the congress MLAs were marching out of the Vidhan Sabha premises, heated exchanges were witnessed between the some ruling and opposition members which also included independent legislator Rakesh Pathania.
Addressing the congress rally at Chaura Maidan, union minister Virbhadra Singh said that should congress form the government in 2012, acquiring Bantony Estate should be done at the earliest.
He also said that land deals of BJP government need to be probed thoroughly and high end apartment being built by colonizers such as DLF were beyond the reach of native residents.
State congress president Kaul Singh said that the Dhumal government had played havoc with the education and health sectors. He said the state had been put on sale as the number of benami deals under the BJP government was unprecedented.
Addressing the gathering Virender Chaudhary, party incharge for Himachal said that the Padyatra was just the start and the opposition would be more aggressive in its stance towards the government.
He said that with all party leaders having participated in the Padyatra, including Virbhadra Singh having walked for 10 Kms, it was wrong to say that the opposition was be-ridden with factionalism.
Photos by Ravinder Makhaik