Himachal BJP in No Mood for Truce

Published: 09th February 2014 01:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2014 01:08 PM   |  A+A-

Up in arms against the ruling Congress for the initial five days of the Himachal Pradesh assembly's ongoing budget session, the opposition BJP seems in no mood to declare a truce.

Perhaps for the first time in the state's history, the saffron brigade has kept itself away from Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's budget speech and is also likely to stay away during the coming week.

"The opposition has used disruptions and walkouts as a weapon to corner the government. In spite of debates and discussions scheduled on vital issues, they prefer to stay outside the assembly," said a political observer.

He said even the government doesn't seem serious about ending the deadlock.

"The entire (19-day) session is likely to be a washout as an unrelenting opposition refuses to give up its demand to send its breach of privilege notice against the chief minister to a house committee to look into it for action," said the observer.

"The chief minister is responsible for the stalemate. He has been using 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 IANS.

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

Official sources said the Chief Minister's comment on a senior leader in one of his press briefings was indirectly aimed at Dhumal.

"There is no initiative from the government side also to end the deadlock," a senior Congress minister admitted.

He said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Agnihotri has failed to end the stalemate, resulting in the boycotting of the chief minister's budget speech and even a walkout during the governor's customary address.

Terming the BJP's protest an "ugly demonstration", the chief minister said while replying to the motion of thanks on the governor's address: "The opposition is wasting the time of the house."

"In spite of raising public issues, they are indulging in character assassination," he added.

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

Virbhadra Singh, during his budget speech Friday, missed no opportunity to take a dig at his rivals.

"The previous BJP government had taken many anti-people decisions. The Congress charge-sheet against the BJP government is being looked into," he said.

"Now, when their wrong actions are coming to the fore, my friends in the opposition are indulging in dirty politics of mudslinging and personal vendetta. A manipulated media trial has also been launched to defame me," the Chief Minister said.

Virbhadra Singh, who is at the helm for a record sixth stint, said whatever be the tactics to divert the attention of the masses the investigations against the misdeeds of the previous government would continue and the guilty would be brought to book.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

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