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Himachal assembly impasse continues over CM's 'bonded labourers' remark

Posted on Feb 05 2014 | IANS

Shimla, Feb 5 : The stalemate in the Himachal Pradesh assembly continued for the third day Wednesday when the opposition BJP staged a walkout after leader of the opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal was not allowed to intervene on the issue of the party's notice against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for breach of privilege.

As the house re-assembled for the day, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jairam Thakur asked about the fate of the notice.

Despite Speaker B.B.L. Butail insisting on taking up the issue only after question hour, Thakur said Virbhadra Singh's remark that the BJP members were "bonded labourers" to a senior party leader was of utmost importance.

The BJP leader urged the speaker to give his ruling on the issue first before proceeding with other business in the house.

On this, Congress member Sanjay Rattan said his colleagues have also submitted a notice for a privilege motion against BJP members who have been violating norms and disrupting the house since the beginning of the session at the cost of public interest and public money.

Butail said he had received the notice of breach of privilege against the chief minister and asked the assembly secretary to verify the details.

He said he also received a notice from some Congress members against BJP legislators for violating norms by wearing aprons in the house and disrupting assembly proceedings time and again.

"The matter is under consideration. I will take action after verification," he said.

At this, BJP member Suresh Bhardwaj said the chief minister's statement was carried by the media.

"We have submitted the clippings along with the notice and it should be sent to the privilege committee for verification."

Bhardwaj said sending the matter to the assembly secretary for verification was not justified.

"The privilege committee is the right forum to look into it for action," he said.

In the meantime, Dhumal got up and wanted to intervene on the issue of the privilege notice but the speaker refused to allow him to do so. This infuriated the BJP members, who kept shouting slogans for some time and then walked out of the house.

Later, the chief minister said "enough is enough".

"The BJP is misusing the Vidhan Sabha for personal accusations against me. We are not going to tolerate it any more," he said.

"They are violating norms everyday and it calls for action. We are not in power because of the BJP or Dhumal. The people of the state have given us the mandate," Virbhadra Singh said.

The chief minister had denied in the assembly Tuesday having said that the BJP legislators were "bonded labourers".

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