EBM News
EBM News

Drama in Rajasthan Assembly over Kota infant deaths, CM intervenes as MLAs get ‘dangerously close’

JAIPUR: The recent infant deaths at a government hospital in Kota triggered unruly scenes in the Rajasthan Assembly on Wednesday. Given the poor conduct of MLAs from both the Opposition and ruling party, Speaker CP Joshi expressed grave disappointment and remarked that “he feels oppressed.” The Speaker’s anguish over the conduct of the MLAs finally made Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot intervene and strive to bring some order to the House proceedings.

Trouble began during the question hour when the issue of Kota infant deaths came up. The Opposition members came into the well of the House and started chanting slogans over the recent deaths of children at Kota’s JK Lon hospital. They protested when Health Minister Raghu Sharma started giving figures of infant deaths during the previous BJP government’s tenure. Soon, some Congress MLAs also waved newspaper clippings, showing the “failure” of former health minister Rajendra Rathore who is now the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

As the Speaker called the next question, Congress MLA from Neem-ka-Thana Suresh Modi went over to the opposition benches with a clipping, which was snatched and torn by BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani. Opposition MLAs then stormed into the well of the House and began shouting slogans. BJP member Ashok Lahoti took pieces of the torn clipping and threw them towards the treasury benches.

They only returned to their seats when the question hour ended. Leader of the Opposition Gulabchand Kataria raised the issue again and asserted that the way a Congress MLA came threateningly close to an opposition MLA in the well of the house, it could someday lead to more unpleasant developments which may ruin the Assembly’s reputation. Speaker C P Joshi soon expressed his sharp disappointment over the conduct of the MLAs.

However, when the Speaker criticised the Congress MLA for walking up to the opposition benches, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal said the BJP members should also be told that tearing the paper was not desirable. Speaker Joshi then said that he felt pained by the behaviour of both sides and remarked: ‘‘I neither try to oppress the ruling party members nor Opposition MLAs. Instead, it is I who feel oppressed.’’

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was finally compelled to intervene in the heated proceedings and asserted that it was unfortunate that the Speaker had to share his anguish over the conduct of the MLAs. He said disagreement by opposition MLAs was welcome but the decorum and sanctity of the House should be maintained by everyone. He also assured cooperation in running the House.

This is not the first time that Speaker Joshi has made public his disappointment at the unruly behaviour of MLAs inside the House. But given his grave remarks, it is hoped that MLAs in the Rajasthan Assembly will be inspired to improve their conduct in future.