Shimla: Abusing language flying about, blows exchanged and the opposition Congress and ruling BJP coming close to a free for all situation on two occasions stalled the Vidhan Sabha for yet another day today as Congress persisted with its demand about resignation of health minister Rajeev Bindal over alleged corruption charges and chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal rejecting the resignation tendered by the minister yesterday.
Chief Minister Dhumal said that the demand for resignation of Bindal was unwarranted and he had rejected the minister resignation tendered in the house on Monday.
Trouble erupted as soon the house opened for taking up the question hour in the morning with leader of the opposition Vidya Stokes insisting that it be deferred and an adjournment motion over corruption charges against the health minister be taken up on priority.
With speaker Tulsi Ram refusing to relent, Congress legislators’ trooped into the well and started shouting slogans saying that their voice was being stifled.
With treasury benches including ministers raising counter slogans, the shouting bout got physical with Rakesh Kalia of Congress and Randhir Sharma of BJP exchanging blows.
Speakers appeal to restore order fell on deaf ears.
An attempt to start the stalled question hour again brought the opposition and ruling to a face-off precipitating a scuffle in which punches and abusive language was freely exchanged in the house.
With the house not ready to take up the discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governors address, the speaker adjourned the house for the day immediately after question hour but not before some committee members were able to lay some papers.
Normally known for its decency, old timers recalled that such scenes have not witnessed in the Himachal assembly for decades.
Later turning up with a bandaged hand, BJP legislator Balbir Chaudhary claimed that he was injured in the scuffle with opposition members and his hand had been injured.
Seeking protection of the chair, Congress members lodged a complaint with the speaker saying they were being hit and threatened by the ruling benches. Ram termed the days incidents as ‘unfortunate’.
Speaking to the media, Stokes alleged that by remaining a mute spectator of the ugly scenes witnessed in the house, leader of the house Dhumal and parliamentary affairs minister Ravinder Ravi were abetting and conspiring the whole drama.
Refusing to relent, she said that the opposition would continue to protest and stall the house unless their demand for resignation of the minister under fire was ceded to.
In response to a charge leveled by Dhumal and Bindal that several legislators including Congress president Kaul Singh had sub-leased properties built on land leased to MLAs housing society on commercial rates, Singh retorted that if it violated the law, the government could set up a judicial commission for several bureaucrats were also drawing high rental values on property built on housing societies built on leased land holdings.
“If the opposition is not satisfied, they can approach the Lokayukta with all the corruption allegations at their disposal,” he said.
However on the occasion, the chief minister appealed to the opposition to let the house function and raise all issues on the floor through meaningful debates.