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Amid political stalemate, Himachal assembly adjourned sine die

Posted on Aug 12 2014 | IANS

Shimla, Aug 12 : Himachal Pradesh assembly Speaker B.B.L. Butail Tuesday adjourned the house sine die as the stand-off between the treasury and opposition benches continued for the fifth day in the ongoing monsoon session.

The 24-day assembly session was scheduled to continue till Aug 29 with 11 more sittings yet to go.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said: "Since the stalemate between the government and the opposition is continuing and the government has no further business, I request the speaker to adjourn the house sine die."

He said frequent disruptions of house proceedings were a sheer wastage of public money.

"This (disruption) was a conspiracy under the direction of Prem Kumar Dhumal (leader of opposition)," he said and asked the speaker to immediately adjourn the house.

On the request of the speaker to allow the house to continue as a number of important bills were pending, he said: "We will again call the house in the next two months."

The opposition BJP was creating unruly scenes since the beginning of the session Aug 6, demanding that all work in the house be suspended to discuss proceedings in Delhi High Court regarding a probe into alleged money laundering case against the chief minister.

After four days of disruptions in the house, the BJP members Tuesday, for the first time, allowed Question Hour to commence after a consensus reached at an all-party meeting called by the speaker.

However, they didn't ask questions which were required to be answered by the chief minister.

This agitated the treasury benches. And when a question related to Power Minister Sujan Singh Pathania was raised by a BJP member, he didn't respond despite repeated calls from the chair.

Finally, he left the house and the chief minister replied to the question. This agitated the opposition and there were heated arguments between members from the ruling and opposition sides.

Even Panchayati Raj Minister Anil Sharma preferred to leave the house when a question related to his department was raised by a BJP member.

Agitated over the behaviour of the government, Dhumal said: "If a member walks out it's understandable. Here the ministers have walked out."

He asked the speaker to call a meeting to resolve the ongoing deadlock. "At your appeal, we came to the house. If a minister is present in the house, do you expect he has the prerogative to give the reply or not."

After Question Hour, BJP member Rajeev Bindal moved a Call Attention Motion over a natural calamity.

As the chief minister got up to give the reply to the motion, the BJP members left the house.

After the chief minister's reply, the BJP members returned to the house. At this, the chief minister asked the speaker to adjourn the house sine die as there was no business to conduct. He commented that the opposition members were coming here to claim their allowances only.

He asked Speaker Butail to seek the view of the house on adjourning it and go for division of votes, if needed.

The BJP members objected and asked the speaker to allow the house to continue as there were several pending bills.

The chief minister said that when the house wanted to be adjourned sine die he should adjourn it. At this, the speaker said he wanted to consult rules in this regard and would give the ruling Wednesday. But the Congress members insisted that the speaker adjourn the house immediately or give the ruling post-lunch -- the speaker agreed to the latter.

As the house assembled in the post-lunch session, the speaker said he had received a notice for adjourning the house sine die and put it to voice vote.

At the BJP's objections to the decision, the speaker clarified that he could adjourn the house under Rule 20 on his own or on the resolution adopted by the house.

Even after the motion was adopted, the BJP objected to it but the speaker ignored the objections and adjourned the house sine die after the playing of the national anthem.

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