The two-day Monsoon Session of Gujarat Assembly ended in chaos as Congress MLAs walked out of the House on Wednesday evening after the BJP government refused to hold a discussion on the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition. Soon after the Question Hour, Deputy Leader of Opposition Shailesh Parmar tabled the motion and it was admitted by Speaker Rajendra Trivedi since it had the support of more than 17 MLAs, as required by the rules.
Immediately Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel objected to it, saying that the Opposition must give a notice for tabling such a motion at least three days in advance and not more than seven working days of the Assembly. Patel said that the current session of the House was for only two days, and the request to table such a motion was given “just today”.
The Congress could not table the motion on Tuesday — the first day of the two-day session — as the House was adjourned soon after paying tribute to former members of the House and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away in the intermittent period between the budget and the monsoon sessions.
In its notice for the no-confidence motion against the BJP government, the Congress cited issues of farmers, rising cost of education, inflation and corruption as the reasons. The government did not offer a loan waiver to farmers, did not ensure irrigation and offer good support prices for crops, the Opposition party said in the notice. It also alleged that the BJP government failed to control the fees of private schools despite enacting a fee regulation act that turned out to be a failure.
Countering the Deputy CM’s argument, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani cited past precedents when such a notice was allowed in the House for discussion on the same day it was moved. “So far, 28 no-confidence motion requests have been submitted. This is 29th. In the past, during the sixth Assembly, Makrand Desai had raised similar notice for no-confidence motion which was allowed for discussion after approval of the Leader of the House then,” Dhanani said, adding that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should show magnanimity and allow discussion.
However, Chief Minister Rupani refused to relent and accused the Opposition of being “power hungry”. “The Congress does not have the numbers, nor does it have issues to have no confidence in the government. This government has been elected by the people of Gujarat. The election was held only eight months ago and the people have given us the mandate to form the government. You cannot decide how long we can rule. It is for the people to take that decision… This motion is just a result of opposition’s hunger for power, as they are restless being out of power for so many years,” Rupani said, refusing to agree to a discussion.
At this, around 10-12 Congress MLAs rushed towards the Well of the House and started raising slogans against the government. Speaker Trivedi then asked the marshals to evict the shouting MLAs. As marshals escorted a dozen MLAs, remaining Congress MLAs also walked out. They later gathered in the lobby of the Assembly and shouted slogans against the government.
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the ruling BJP has a strength of 99 MLAs, Congress 77, while others six.