The Congress contingent was quite active on Wednesday – the last day of the truncated monsoon session of the House. It vociferously raised the issue of the SSP oustees from the House to the streets. For the first time since Narendra Modi taking over as the Prime Minister, slogans were raised against him in the House even as the treasury benches kept mum.
It seems that even before the Question Hour could commence, the Congress had decided that it would not allow the House to function. Deputy leader of the Congress legislature party Bala Bachchan alleged that the oustees were being forced to leave their homes and hearths at gun point. He said that 23,000 families were being forcibly driven away from the land, which was theirs for as longer as they could remember. As soon as Bala Bachchan raised the issue, several party MLAs including Surendra Singh Baghel, Sachin Yadav and Jhooma Solanki entered the Well of the House.
The Congress MLAs raised full-throated slogans in the Well. They were demanding that the government should discuss the issue in the House. The MLAs sought an assurance from Speaker Sitasharan Sharma that the issue would be taken up for discussion. However, the Speaker refused. After this, the Congress MLAs created a ruckus. BJP MLA Ranjana Baghel alleged the Congress was not allowing the oustees to fill in the ‘Sankalp Patras’. She said the collector and herself had arranged meetings between the CM and groups of oustees.
Even as the Congress members were busy creating chaos, the government decided to get the House adjourned sine die. As soon as the business listed on the day’s agenda was done, minister Uma Shankar Gupta, who is looking after parliamentary affairs, proposed that the House be adjourned sine die.
Congress strategy changed every minute
The Congressmen were in an aggressive mood both inside the House and when they were being taken by the police to Jail. Even after the House was adjourned, the Congress members continued with their dharna for some time. Later, they came out and sat on dharna in the lobby of Vidhan Sabha building. After raising slogans for some time, they decided to march towards the CM House on foot. The police intercepted them near the Patrakar Bhawan and they were arrested. Half of the MLAs boarded the police bus while the rest kept on standing on the road. Then, the leader of opposition and others, who had boarded the bus, had a change of mind. They told the police that they wanted to go back to Vidhan Sabha. They were allowed to get down. But they again sat on a dharna on the road. After some time, they decided to court arrest and boarded the bus. On reaching the jail, they insisted that they should be put inside the jail. After staging a dharna for some time outside the jail, they finally left for their homes.
Five Congress MLAs Jitu Patwari, Shailendra Patel, Sachin Yadav and Hardeep Singh Dang managed to dodge the police and started marching towards the CM House by another route. The police, however, arrested them from near the Polytechnic Square.
Ruling party misses Narottam
Even as the Congress MLAs were creating bedlam in the House, Umashankar Gupta, Vishwas Sarang and Gaurishankar Shejwar – the three ministers mandated with floor management in the absence of parliamentary affairs minister Narottam Mishra, failed to put forth the government’s stand convincingly. The ruling party must have surely missed Narottam Mishra, who was apt at handling such situations. During the entire session, no minister or MLA of the ruling party could effectively counter the opposition.