Is Himachal assembly's monsoon session on way to washout?
Is the 16-day monsoon session of the Himachal Pradesh assembly also heading for a complete washout like the previous budget session? It would seem so.
On the first three days of the session that began Wednesday, an unrelenting BJP refused to give up its demand for Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's resignation in the wake of the centre's submission in the Delhi High Court that a money laundering case could be made out against him.
The ruling Congress is hopeful that it would carry on with its agenda despite foreseen disruptions by the saffron brigade, the main opposition, duirng the remaining 13 sittings.
On the first day of the session, the BJP demanded that the chief minister quit over his party's dismal performance in the April-May Lok Sabha polls.
On the next two days, the BJP's demand was to suspend all business and debate on Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain's observation in the Delhi High Court that there was enough material on record to register a first information report against Virbhadra Singh.
The chief minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party had worked against the spirit of democracy by boycotting the entire 14-day budget session and was now trying to disrupt this session too.
"The BJP is shirking from its prime responsibility of taking up public issues in the assembly. But we will not succumb to its tactics and will carry on with the agenda of the session," Virbhadra Singh told IANS.
He said there was no deadlock in the assembly from the government side. "We are ready to debate on any issue, provided the opposition follows parliamentary norms," he added.
Without mincing words, the chief minister blamed BJP leader and two-time chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for the stalemate.
"He is immature. He is using the house to save face from the cases against him and his sons (including member of parliament Anurag Thakur)," Virbhadra Singh said.
Countering his bete noire, Dhumal said the chief minister is in the habit of blaming others.
"The chief minister is claiming that the investigation against him in the money laundering case has been speeded up when the new union government came in. Does this mean the investigation was slowed down under the influence of the previous government," Dhumal asked.
He said the deadlock in the assembly would continue till all the issues were not resolved.
On Thursday, when the house was adjourned for the day in just 10 minutes after it assembled, the chief minister read out a statement in the house, saying: "The BJP is trying to draw unnecessary inferences from the court proceedings which is uncalled for."
He said it would not be proper for him or anybody else to make any comment on the proceedings in the court. "I would advise my friends from the BJP to allow the law to take its own course."
During the budget session, when the BJP members boycotted all sittings of the house, Virbhadra Singh said: "It's for the first time that the opposition has not only interrupted the governor's address but also boycotted the budget speech and discussions thereon."
"It was a move to pressurise the government on the enquiries into acts of omission and commission and wrongdoings in the previous BJP regime, those in HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) and other matters," the chief minister said replying to the budget debate.
(Vishal Gulati can be conacted at email@example.com )
(Posted on 10-08-2014)