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Thursday, March 04, 2021

Rajasthan: Raje camp MLAs write to state BJP chief, allege bias in House

Around 20 MLAs known to be loyal to former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje have written to state party president Satish Poonia, alleging bias in the Assembly proceedings.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur |
February 22, 2021 12:19:28 am
Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia

The rift within the Opposition BJP in Rajasthan doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Now, around 20 MLAs known to be loyal to former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje have written to state party president Satish Poonia, alleging bias in the Assembly proceedings.

Leading the signatories, former Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal said, “For giving opportunity to Opposition MLAs, two persons are authorised. One is Leader of Opposition [Gulab Chand Kataria] and the other is the Chief Whip. Now, BJP doesn’t have a Chief Whip yet and as per the current arrangement, several senior MLAs are being ignored. So we wrote a letter to the party state president to bring it to
his notice.”

Another MLA known to be loyal to Raje, Kalicharan Saraf, who represents Malviya Nagar, said, “The Speaker has ended the parchi (instant notice) system. And now, adjournment motion can be moved at the mercy of the Speaker. And whoever the Leader of Opposition wants is given an opportunity to speak. Now, several MLAs who have been constantly trying to move adjournment motions aren’t getting an opportunity to speak while some MLAs get multiple opportunities to speak – this is wrong.”

As per Section 50 of Rajasthan Assembly Rules, a motion for an adjournment of the business of the House for the purpose of discussing “a definite matter of urgent public importance” may be made with the consent of the Speaker.

Till last year, the MLAs used to seek an opportunity to speak through the parchi system, and four of them used to be selected through a draw. However, this system was stopped by Speaker C P Joshi.

Another signatory to the letter, Narpat Singh Rajvi, MLA from Jaipur’s Vidyadhar Nagar, criticised how the party did not object to the ending of the parchi system.

“So you (the Leader of Opposition) have curtailed the number of chances (given to Opposition MLAs) by saying yes to the Speaker (over his decision of ending the parchi system), which is not in the interest of any party.” He said that it suits the Speaker to have fewer disruptive voices from the Opposition and to have the House run smoothly. He termed Kataria’s apparent acceptance of the Speaker’s decision as being “convenient” for the Speaker.

“If any major decision is taken, it should be discussed with the legislature party. If you want to play the role of Opposition but don’t get an opportunity to raise an issue, you fail in your duty of being in the Opposition. You can see the House proceedings have been cold,” Rajvi said.

Other signatories to the letter include MLAs Pratap Singh Singhvi, Pushpendra Singh, Narendra Nagar, Rampratap Kasniyan, Ramswaroop Lamba, among others.

While Poonia could not be reached for comments, party spokesperson and MLA Ramlal Sharma said, “The Leader of Opposition and Deputy Leader of Opposition give an equal opportunity to all MLAs wherever required. Several MLAs have won for the first time, so it is also important that they get to raise issues pertaining to their areas. As far as the grievances mentioned in the letter are concerned, the MLAs could have spoken to the Leader of Opposition and the Deputy Leader of Opposition first.”

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