Himachal BJP's assembly boycott irks Congress

Written by: IANS
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Shimla, Feb 10: The opposition BJP in Himachal Pradesh again stayed away from the assembly session on Monday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's action of boycotting the assembly has come under scathing attack from Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

"There is no reason for them to abstain from the house," the chief minister said as the house assembled.

He said the BJP members were giving more importance to Gujarat Chief Minister and the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's Feb 16 rally in Sujanpur than the assembly session which was unfortunate.

"It's unfortunate the BJP members are giving preference to their prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's rally (in the state)," the chief minister said as the house assembled for its sixth sitting.

Modi is holding a public rally in Sujanpur in Hamirpur district Feb 16.

For the past six days, the opposition has been staging walkouts and boycotting the assembly. For the first time in the state's history, the BJP kept away from the chief minister's budget speech Friday.

It also staged a walkout during the governor's address on the first day of the session Feb 3.

Modi is holding a public rally in Sujanpur in Hamirpur district Feb 16.

Initiating the budget debate from the treasury benches, Congress member Asha Kumari described the BJP's action as "very, very unfortunate".

"The opposition is running away from its responsibility (of participating in the budget debate)," she said.

"The budget debate should be opened by the leader of opposition (Prem Kumar Dhumal)... It's not a healthy parliamentary practice," she added.

"The chief minister is responsible for the stalemate. He has been making derogatory remarks against (former chief minister Prem Kumar) Dhumal and has been insulting our party's legislators in the assembly. This will not be tolerated and our protest will continue," BJP state president Satpal Satti told reporters.

He said the chief minister's remark that the BJP legislators "are bonded labourers" was humiliating.

Denying that he ever made a statement referring to the legislators as "bonded labourers", Virbhadra Singh clarified in the assembly: "But it's my personal view that the BJP legislators are helpless."


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