The six-day long stalemate in Himachal Pradesh Assembly ended on Friday with the House revoking the suspension of five Congress MLAs, including the Leader of Opposition, Mukesh Agnihotri, following talks with the opposition members in the Speaker’s Chamber.
The development comes just a day before chief minister, Jai Ram Thakur is to present the budget proposals for 2021-22 in the Assembly on Saturday (6 March).
Parliamentary Affairs minister, Suresh Bhardwaj moved a resolution in the Assembly to revoke the suspension of MLAs, holding that the presence of both the ruling and opposition members is important in the House for debate on issues in public interest. “We have had discussions with the Congress members Asha Kumari, Thakur Ram Lal, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Dhani Ram Shandil and some other members. Jal Shakti minister Mahinder Singh Thakur was also present. Everybody wants that the House should run peacefully. Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur also wanted it and the Speaker, Vipin Singh Parmar also played a role in it,” he said.
Senior member of Congress, Asha Kumari thanked the Parliamentary Affairs minister and Jal Shakti minister, Mahinder Singh Thakur for sorting it out to keep the tradition of the House to have ruling and opposition both for discussion alive.
Another senior Congress member, Thakur Ram Lal said it was a good step in the interest of dignity of the House. He said the incident of 26 February should not be referred again in the House so that a peaceful environment can be maintained.
Congress members, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the dialogue cannot be held on conditions. He thanked the Speaker of Assembly for efforts to end the impasse by calling up the Congress members in the morning for dialogue. “We did not want to write history that CM presented a budget in the House and the opposition takes to roads to speak on budget,” he said.
Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur said the ruling benches and the opposition are not enemies. “We may have difference of opinion on the issues. But that’s a healthy tradition to debate it out on important issues in public interest. We can find out any solution through dialogue,” he said.
The Congress MLAs were suspended following the incident of jostling Governor Bandaru Dattatraya on the first day of the budget session of the state Assembly. Since then, while the suspended MLAs used to sit on dharna outside the Assembly gate during session hours, the other Congress MLAs also staged walk outs and abstained from the House, skipping the discussion on Governor’s address. On Thursday, former CM, Virbhadra Singh, who is senior most legislator, and state Congress President had also joined the protest by opposition members.
It is pertinent to mention that while some Congress members, including Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu played a major role in ending the impasse on the suspension, lone CPM member, Rakesh Singha too mediated effectively.