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No permission for tribute to Covid victims, Cong members walk out

On the first day of the two-day monsoon session of the state legislature, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani requested Speaker Nimaben Acharya to allow the House to pay homage to those who succumbed to Covid-19 in Gujarat.

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
September 28, 2021 2:13:35 am
Congress MLA from Dariyapur Gyasuddin Shaikh protests outside the Vidhan Sabha on Monday. (Express photo)

Opposition MLAs from the Congress on Monday walked out of the Gujarat Assembly after being denied permission to pay homage to Covid-19 victims on the floor of the House.

On the first day of the two-day monsoon session of the state legislature, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani requested Speaker Nimaben Acharya to allow the House to pay homage to those who succumbed to Covid-19 in Gujarat. “As many as three lakh persons have died due to Covid in Gujarat. The government should pay Rs 4 lakh as compensation to the kin. All the members of this House should also offer condolences to them,” he demanded soon after the Opposition and ruling party members offered condolences on the death of 19 MLAs who passed away in recent months.

However, Minister for legislative and parliamentary affairs, Rajendra Trivedi, objected saying the House has already paid homage to Covid victims and any such proposal should be brought in advance through the business advisory committee of the Assembly that has members from both the parties. “Covid-19 has not gone yet,” he added.

Health Minister Rushikesh Patel said Congress’s claim of three lakh Covid deaths was not true. “The state government will provide the relief (of Rs 50,000) to Covid victims as per the notification issued by the Centre on September 25,” Patel said.

The Speaker agreed with the health minister and denied permission to the condolence request saying the House had already paid homage in the past for Covid victims.

Following this, the Congress MLAs stood up from their seats and observed a minute’s silence, even as the ruling party members remained seated, before staging a walkout.

However, the walkout lasted only for a few minutes as the Congress members had to return for the election of the Deputy Speaker. While chief minister Bhupendra Patel proposed Shehra MLA Jethabhai Ahir’s name, Dhanani nominated Congress MLA from Bhiloda, Dr Anil Joshiyara, for the post.

Acharya rejected Dhanani’s request for a formal voting process for electing the Deputy Speaker. The Speaker conducted a voice vote and declared Ahir her deputy.

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