Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly’s ‘Sarcastically Smooth’ Monsoon Session
The culmination of the monsoon session of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly was marked by heightened tensions between the ruling party and the Opposition. The session saw Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur raising pertinent issues raised by BJP MLAs, while Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, representing the ruling Congress, took a political swipe at the Opposition. Despite the political skirmishes, Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania made efforts to mitigate tensions by recognizing the cooperation between Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur, which contributed to the overall smooth functioning of the House. Consequently, the proceedings of the House transpired in a relatively amicable atmosphere.
Jai Ram Thakur, in his address, passionately advocated for the closure of a case registered against MLA Vinod Kumar. He emphasized that failure to resolve this issue might set a troubling precedent, potentially resulting in more cases being registered against MLAs in the future. The Leader of the Opposition also highlighted the BJP’s recent demonstration outside the Assembly, focusing on critical state issues and expressing hope that the state government would give these concerns due consideration.
Jai Ram Thakur expressed astonishment over the government’s presentation of a white paper in the House regarding the fiscal health of the state. He pointed out that many of the issues mentioned in the document fall under the purview of the Central Government, questioning the rationale behind including them. Additionally, he critiqued the unsatisfactory answers provided during the session, urging a closer examination of these concerns moving forward.
Thakur underscored the importance of ‘Vayastha Parivartan,’ highlighting that meaningful change in the system is not achieved through mere words but through actions and behaviors. He noted that despite being in power for the last ten months, the government was not in a comfortable position due to growing public discontent.
Furthermore, Jai Ram Thakur called upon the government to reconsider the situation of outsourced workers who had been removed from the health department, emphasizing the need for a compassionate approach to this issue.
Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, in his concluding session address, took a subtle jab at the Leader of the Opposition, contrasting the tradition of the House, where sessions usually conclude on a cheerful note, with Jai Ram Thakur’s serious speech, implying his dissatisfaction.
Agnihotri reminded the House of a previous incident when the BJP government had filed an FIR against six Congress MLAs within the
Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, an unprecedented occurrence since FIRs typically cannot be filed against MLAs within the assembly premises. He pointed out that the FIR had not been cancelled to date, emphasizing that the BJP, especially Jai Ram Thakur, should not forget that this FIR against MLAs was their contribution to the House’s history.
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Furthermore, Agnihotri highlighted a past inadequacy of the previous BJP government: they failed to effectively present their case before the 15th Finance Commission, resulting in a loss of financial assistance from the Central Government, which adversely affected the state.
Agnihotri also voiced surprise at the Opposition’s silence during the passing of a resolution to declare the disaster caused by heavy rains in the state as a national disaster. He urged the BJP to rectify their previous stance by assisting the state government in seeking Rs 12 thousand crore in aid from the Central Government through this resolution.
In conclusion, the last day of the monsoon session of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly was marked by political tensions between the ruling party and the Opposition. Despite the discord, Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania attempted to foster cooperation and civility among members. Key issues such as the closure of a case against an MLA, the state’s fiscal health, and the situation of outsourced workers were passionately discussed. Both sides took jabs at each other, with Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri reminding the Opposition of their own past actions and the consequences they had on the state. The session ended with unresolved tensions and crucial matters still requiring attention in the future.