Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

Delhi Assembly: Chaos before the resignation

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks amid protest by BJP's members in the Delhi Assembly during its special session called for anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill. (PTI) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks amid protest by BJP's members in the Delhi Assembly during its special session called for anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill. (PTI)
Written by Pragya Kaushika | New Delhi | Posted: February 15, 2014 2:26 am | Updated: February 15, 2014 9:10 am

Aggressive speeches that targeted AAP leaders, the ruckus around tabling the Jan Lokpal Bill and the failure to get it even introduced in the House on Friday culminated in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet tendering their resignation the very evening.

Even before tendering his letter of resignation, Kejriwal had expressed his intent after the Assembly session ended. With a wry smile, he expressed his disappointment over the conduct of the MLAs.

“My heart breaks to see members destroying mikes and tearing papers. If you go to a temple, you do not tear the Bhagavad Gita, you do not tear Quran in a masjid,” the CM said. Indicating that the Lok Sabha polls were his next target, he said, “This is probably our last Assembly session.”

Minutes later, he tendered his resignation after a meeting of the Delhi Cabinet.

Friday’s session began on a stormy note with BJP MLA Rambir Singh Bidhuri serving a notice for suspension of proceedings saying it was Sant Ravidass’s birth anniversary. “Kejriwal should apologise for having a session on Ravidass Jayanti,” he said to which Speaker M S Dhir replied that it was for the people’s welfare.

Dhir faced flak for calling Ravidass a saint of Delhi. “Woh delhi ke nahi, duniya ke sant hai speakerji (He is not just Delhi’s saint, he is a saint for the whole world),” Bidhuri said.

When the matter of tabling the Jan Lokpal bill came up, Congress MLA Arvinder Singh Lovely asked the Speaker to conduct a vote on whether the Bill should be tabled, considering that the Lt-Governor had expressed his disapproval over it.

Dhir was then forced to read the Lt-Governor’s letter on the Jan Lokpal Bill, in which he strongly advised against the tabling of the Bill.

Legislators also complained that copies of the Bill reached them late on Thursday and they had not been given sufficient time to study it.

Amid the din, Leader of the Opposition Harsh Vardhan demanded the introduction of a censure motion against Law Minister Somnath Bharti.

Upset by the ruckus, JD(U) MLA Shoaib Iqbal called the Assembly a circus. “The House looks like a circus today. Some are roaming here, others elsewhere,” he said.

Towards the end of the session, both the Congress and the BJP rejected the introduction and debate on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

For the first time, AAP MLAs too stood up to counter objections from the BJP and Congress. Somnath Bharti was seen asking his MLAs to stand and speak as he could not. Every time he rose to speak, he was forced to sit as MLAs demanded his resignation.

Though the CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodia appealed to allow discussion on the Bill, it was continued…

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