Dharamsala, Dec 23 (IANS) Pandemonium continued in the Himachal Pradesh assembly on the last day of the session on Friday over the suspension of three opposition BJP legislators from the house.
The BJP later staged a walkout in protest and boycotted the proceedings.
Soon after the Question Hour, BJP member Rikhi Ram Kaundal stood up on his seat and said the suspended legislators — Suresh Bhardwaj, Rajeev Bindal and Randhir Sharma — were not allowed to enter the assembly premises.
“It’s a dictatorship,” he said.
At this, leader of opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal intervened and said they were suspended from the House and should not be stopped from entering the Vidhan Sabha premises.
He questioned the legality of the Speaker’s order to ban them from entering the Vidhan Sabha complex, arguing their suspension was related only to their participation in the house and not their movement inside the complex.
“It’s the democratic right of elected MLAs to come to the Vidhan Sabha,” the two-time former Chief Minister said.
Defending his decision, Speaker B.B.L. Butail said the decision was taken by following the assembly rules.
Quoting the rules, Butail said the precincts of the house means and includes the chamber, the lobbies, the galleries and the approaches leading thereto.
Butail said the suspended legislators cannot enter the Vidhan Sabha premises as discipline has to be maintained in the house.
“If the discipline of the house is compromised, I will take action,” Butail said.
Not satisfied with the reply of the Speaker, the opposition staged a walkout raising slogans and boycotted the entire proceedings.
Later, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh described the behaviour of the opposition as unfortunate.
“They should be ashamed of their behaviour and the leader of the opposition is defending them,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that during the debate in the house there must be a difference of opinion between the treasury and the opposition benches but “our behaviour should be dignified and responsible”.
He praised the Speaker for conducting the house proceedings smoothly.