Himachal Assembly: Congress walks out,no-confidence motion defeated

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday night rejected a no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition Congress against the BJP government.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published: August 29, 2012 1:45:55 am

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday night rejected a no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition Congress against the BJP government. This,after the House witnessed complete pandemonium with the opposition stalling proceedings while Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was replying to the debate.

The Congress staged a walkout from the House before Dhumal could complete his reply. The motion,which was put to voting in the absence of Congress MLAs,was defeated. The proceedings continued till 10.20 pm.

Earlier,Congress MLAs — led by CLP leader Vidya Stokes and outgoing PCC chief Kaul Singh Thakur — entered the well of the House and created ruckus. BJP MLAs also raised slogans against the Congress,accusing it of corruption. This continued for over 40 minutes.

Trouble started when Dhumal was speaking regarding Jaiparkash Associations Limited’s (JAL) thermal power plant in Solan district and sought to pin down Stokes — who was the power minister when the plant was sanctioned. In May,the Himachal Pradesh High Court had imposed a penalty of Rs 100 crore on JAL and ordered the dismantling of the power plant as it violated environmental norms.

As Dhumal pointed out that Stokes was guilty of violations,Congress MLAs started raising slogans,demanding that an FIR be registered against JAL.

Dhumal termed the no-confidence motion,which mainly focussed on corruption,as “politically motivated”. “It was brought by the Congress just to stay in limelight,” he said,while claiming that former chief minister and newly appointed state Congress president Virbhadra Singh was the most tainted leader. While rejecting charges of illegal land sales,Dhumal further alleged that it was the Congress,which had sold Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier,the House debated the no-confidence motion for over eight hours,during which the Congress members and treasury benches exchanged charges. BJP MLAs attacked Virbhadra Singh over a court framing corruption charges against him with Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj wondering how the Congress chose to make a “graft-tainted leader” like Virbhadra as its leader.

As the discussion veered towards the Centre’s “indifferent” treatment of Himachal,both Virbhadra and Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma faced the ire of the BJP for their “inability to help the state secure an industrial package”.

While initiating the debate,Stokes accused the BJP government of breaking all corruption records and of having sold the state’s interests to outsiders. Equally on the offensive was outgoing PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur. He slammed the government for illegal land sales.

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