February 11, 2021 1:32:19 am
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA from Bhadra in Hanumangarh, Balwan Poonia, single-handedly raised the issue of Centre’s three farm laws in the Rajasthan Assembly as Governor Kalraj Mishra read his address on the first day of the budget session which began here on Wednesday.
As soon as the Governor started his speech, Poonia stormed the well and indulged in sloganeering in support of the farmers’ agitation and accused the Central government of ignoring the plight of farmers. He then sat on a protest in the well, demanding that the “black laws” be repealed.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks, he shouted slogans of ‘Andolan-Jeevi Zindabad’ and ‘Jai Kisan’.
As Congress chief whip Mahesh Joshi and Deputy chief whip Mahendra Chaudhary reached the well and unsuccessfully tried to convince him to go back to his seat, Parliamentary Affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal also joined them and about 20 minutes into Governor’s address, the three finally managed to convince Poonia to go back to his seat. However, once by his seat, Poonia again started indulging in sloganeering. He asked the Governor to apprise the Centre of the sentiments of farmers of the state.
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Apparently, upon instructions from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Joshi asked cabinet minister Harish Chaudhary to convince Poonia to sit down. Mahendra Chaudhary and Harish Chaudhary subsequently took Poonia out of the House but he soon returned and continued his slogans till the end of the Governor’s address, which lasted for about 50 minutes. However, bar a couple of occasions when he retorted to Poonia, the Governor continued his speech without an interruption.
To express solidarity with protesting farmers, Congress MLA Indra Meena also reached the Assembly driving a tractor.
Pilot shifted back to front row in House
Meanwhile, almost six months after he was shifted from the front row to the back in the Assembly after his removal as a minister and as Congress state president in Rajasthan, Sachin Pilot was again shifted to the front row when the sixth session of 16th Assembly convened here on Wednesday.
In July last year, Pilot was removed as a minister and when the Assembly convened in August for a trust vote, he was shifted a few rows behind and was seated next to Gehlot loyalist, Independent MLA Sanyam Lodha.
On Wednesday, he was flanked by transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and BJP state president Satish Poonia in the front row. Khachariyawas and Pilot’s supporters had a bitter public feud during the political crisis, but on Wednesday, the two weren’t talking to each other. In perhaps a rare instance among the Treasury Benches, Pilot was the only one among them to occupy a front row seat without being an incumbent minister.
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