Ruckus in Himachal Assembly over BJP members’ suspension

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Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Dec 22 (IANS) A day after the suspension of three BJP legislators, the Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Thursday witnessed pandemonium, with the party’s MLAs staging a walkout, saying the suspensions were not as per parliamentary procedures.

As the House assembled in the morning, Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal said the suspension of Suresh Bhardwaj, Rajeev Bindal and Randhir Sharma was ‘illegal’ as norms were not followed.

He demanded that their suspension should be revoked.

“They were not served suspension notice by the (Vidhan Sabha) secretariat. When they came to the assembly this (Thursday) morning, they were not allowed to enter the Vidhan Sabha complex,” he said.

BJP legislator Bhardwaj on Wednesday found a unique way of registering his protest in the assembly by sitting on the Speaker’s chair in his absence.

Later, he was suspended from the House, along with two others, for the rest of the session for the “unparliamentary” act.

Justifying Bhardwaj’s decision to sit on the Speaker’s chair, Dhumal, who is a two-time former Chief Minister, said Speaker B.B.L. Butail adjourned the House for 15 minutes to resolve the deadlock between the Congress and the BJP.

“As the Speaker did not turn up much after the duration of the adjournment fixed by him and the Deputy Speaker was not in the House, Bhardwaj, who is also the Presiding Officer of the House, decided to preside and sat on his chair,” he said.

Justifying himself, Deputy Speaker Jagat Singh Negi said he was present in the House when Bhardwaj sat on the Speaker’s chair.

However, Butail refused the discussion, stating that he could take up this matter after the Question Hour.

This agitated the BJP members who started raising slogans.

As the Speaker proceeded with the business listed for the day, the BJP lawmakers staged a walkout from the House.

After the walkout, the House continued with the business. Later, they joined the proceedings.

Talking to reporters, Dhumal said the decision to suspend the legislators from the House was illegal.

“We have demanded a discussion on their suspension. When we were not allowed to speak in the House, we had decided to stage a walkout,” he said.

The five-day winter session began in this town, some 250 km from state capital Shimla, on December 19.

–IANS

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