July 26, 2021 9:08:33 pm
The monsoon session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly witnessed ruckus on the first day on Monday over Congress MLA Brihaspat Singh’s allegations of threat to his life from state health minister TS Singh Deo with the opposition BJP demanding a probe by a House panel into the “serious” allegations.
Singh on Sunday alleged his convoy was attacked in Surguja district at the behest of Singh Deo on Saturday evening in Ambikapur town because the former had praised Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and said he will continue to remain at the helm, amid talks about a purported formula for sharing of the CM’s post.
Singh Deo, who represents Surguja constituency, however, had said that people in his area and in the state know about him very well as his image is in the public domain, and he has nothing more to say on the issue.
Raising the issue in the House, BJP MLAs, including Brijmohan Arawal and Ajay Chandrakar, said the allegations are serious as a ruling party MLA has accused his own government’s minister of trying to get him killed.
“When a ruling party legislator is not feeling safe in his government, then how can Opposition members feel protected? It is the matter of safety of every MLA and therefore, the House should take suo moto cognisance of the matter and get it probed by a committee of the House,” they said.
Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik said it was an unfortunate incident not only for Congress but also for the entire state as such allegations were never levelled by a lawmaker in the history of Chhattisgarh.
When Assembly Speaker Charan Das Mahant asked Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ravindra Chaubey to present the state government’s stand on the issue, BJP members raised objections.
“When an allegation is raised against a minister, it puts the entire cabinet in question. The MLA has also alleged that he is the target because of his statement over the Chief Minister’s post. Instead of the parliamentary affairs minister, Brihaspat Singh and TS Singh Deo, who were present in the House, and those MLAs who visited Singh’s house (on Sunday) should speak on the issue,” BJP MLAs said.
At this, the Speaker said the principle of natural justice says both sides should be given a chance to speak. “I had allowed Opposition members to speak, now the same chance should be given to the treasury benches,” he said.
However, BJP MLAs created uproar demanding a probe by a House committee, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for five minutes.
After the House re-assembled, BJP legislators raised their demand again.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Bahgel said it is the responsibility of the state government to ensure protection to each member of the House and that his government will provide security to them.
Amid the chaos, the Speaker adjourned the House for lunch.
When the House resumed, BJP MLAs demanded that Singh Deo and Singh speak on the issue, following which the Speaker said he will look into their demand on Tuesday.
Singh, who represents Ramanujganj seat, had claimed that three persons, one of them said to be a distant relative of Singh Deo, were involved in the attack on his convoy. The MLA had also alleged that he was the real target of the attack.
A formula for rotational chief ministership has been the talking point in Chhattisgarh”s political circles since the Congress came to power in December 2018. At that time, Baghel, T S Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu were leading contenders for the top post. Since then speculations have been doing rounds that a consensus was reached for the top post based on a two-and-a-half-year power-sharing formula between Baghel and Singh Deo. P
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