Cong MLAs in Himachal hold silent protest by tying black bands around their mouths
The impasse in the state Assembly,over the Congress demand for the sacking of Health Minister Rajeev Bindal,continued for the fourth day on Thursday after opposition MLAs staged a silent protest,with black bands tied around their mouths,in the well of the House.
The opposition MLAs boycotted the question hour and later staged a walk-out from the Assembly,rejecting Speaker Tulsi Rams appeal to participate in the proceedings. Unable to convince the Opposition to give up its protest,the Speaker later decided to go ahead with the question hour and the rest of the business with empty Opposition benches overshadowing proceedings.
Sounding quite upset over the developments,Speaker Tulsi Ram said the Opposition,despite his repeated pleas,had not cooperated. The Speaker also made it clear that he had tried to act completely impartially without being influenced by any side. Earlier also you (Opposition) had came with black-bands and I had objected to it. I had left it up to the conscience of the senior opposition leaders. This has happened again for which the entire responsibility rest only on you ,he said.
When the House had assembled earlier,Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Vidya Stokes drew the Speakers attention towards the Oppositions demand and alleged that despite the protests,Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had given the health minister a clean chit and rejected the latters resignation without holding an inquiry . At this stage,PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur also joined the issue declaring that the Congress would not withdraw its protests unless the government gave a satisfactory reply to the corruption allegations and property deals of Bindal.
Thakur was even more perturbed by remarks made by BJP MLA Renu Chadha regarding his road accident,some months back. Chadha ,on Wednesday,had claimed that an unknown woman had been travelling with the PCC president when he met with the accident.
I strongly object to all the rubbish that the BJP MLA had spoken in our absence from the House. Let Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal order a judicial probe and call the particular woman MLA as a witness or her remarks,which amount to character assassination,should be deleted from the House records, he demanded.