Shimla, Feb 4 IANS | 11 months ago

Opposition BJP legislators protested here Tuesday against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's remarks by coming to the house in aprons bearing caricatures of currency notes falling from trees.

After disrupting question hour to the end, the agitated BJP legislators staged a walk-out. They also raised some slogans in the house to which the chief minister later objected.

Taking cognizance of Virbhadra Singh's objections, Speaker B.B.L. Butail ordered the remarks to be expunged.

The media too was directed not to report on the expunged slogans.

The BJP's protest was against certain remarks made by the chief minister against a senior state leader and the legislators after the first day of the budget session Monday.

Condemning the walkout, the speaker said the BJP's action was against the parliamentary rules.

"The action was objectionable as under parliamentary rules a member can't exhibit placards and banners under rule 299. What was the need to waste the time (of the house)," he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said it was unfortunate that the opposition disrupted the proceedings on the second day too.

"They also disrupted the governor's address yesterday (Monday). This house is known in the country for maintaining decorum. This is a bad practice and unfortunate," he said.

He requested the speaker to ask the BJP leaders to behave properly in the house or face strict action.

The chief minister said ever body has the right to raise issues in the house but as per parliamentary norms.

"The governor invited the legislators to the dinner (Monday) but they (the BJP) boycotted. This proves they are frustrated and trying to get political mileage," Virbhadra Singh said.

On allegations of corruption, the chief minister clarified that "he himself is facing a number of probes. The CBI is already investigating into the issues and the income tax officials are also looking into returns".

He said he has already filed a criminal defamation suit against Dhumal's sons - MP Anurag Thakur and Arun Dhumal - and Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

"I challenged them to raise these issues outside the house and I will take them to the court of law," Virbhadra Singh added.

Official sources said Virbhadra Singh filed in a Shimla court Jan 16 three defamation cases against Jaitley, Dhumal and his sons.

"I have filed three defamation cases under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code against Jaitley, Dhumal, Anurag Thakur and Arun," Virbhadra Singh told reporters.

He has said Jaitley and the Dhumals unleashed a malicious campaign against him and his family through the media. "Therefore, I was compelled to file defamation cases."

At a press conference in Delhi Dec 30, Jaitley demanded a probe and action from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress into allegations of payoff by a private company to the chief minister and his parliamentarian wife Pratibha Singh.

(Posted on 04-02-2014)

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