The opening day of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government's last budget session began with a 90-minute address of Governor Jagannath Pahadia. The Governor's speech was followed by passing of obituary resolutions. (Agencies)
Soon after, BJP legislature party leader Anil Vij wanted the House to take up the issue of guest schoolteachers, who has been holding an indefinite fast at Delhi's Jantar Mantar since February 8 demanding regularisation and higher pay.
Main opposition Indian National Lok Dal's leader Ashok Arora also stood up demanding implementation of the Haryana Lokayukta's report that had last month recommended filing of a case against Congress MLA and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Ram Kishen Fauji in the cash-for-CLU scam.
"The government should immediately act upon the report and register a case against Fauji. When the entire nation is raising its voice against corruption, the Haryana government should not delay the matter and take action against him," Arora said. He said it was "ironic" that the government had sought a review of the Lokayukta's order rather than the affected party (Fauji).
The House witnessed heated exchanges between members of opposition and treasury benches over the issue. Fauji too attempted to launch counter offensives.
In view of recent unsavoury incidents in the Lok Sabha and the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, security has been further strengthened both inside and outside the Haryana Assembly.
Vij took strong objection to deploying of Marshals near the Chief Minister and the opposition benches. "This has never happened before. We are elected representatives... Why is the government feeling so scared?" he asked.
Arora also joined Vij and asked that the Marshals to be pushed back. "We are elected representatives of people. If the government feels scared, what message will it send across to the common people," Arora said.
Opposition BJP and INLD also raised objections to the "short" duration of the session, which will run till March 4 with a few holidays in between.
"This is the present government's last budget (Haryana goes to polls later this year). There are numerous issues concerning farmers, employees. Then there are water and power issues, law and order problem, witch-hunt of honest officers like Ashok Khemka, and issues of MLAs pertaining to their own constituencies, but what justice can be done in this short duration of the assembly," Vij said.
INLD's Ramphal Majra said during the past nine years of the Congress rule, the Haryana assembly on an average met for
11 days a year. "Several bills have been passed without discussion due to paucity of time. Even neighbouring states of Delhi and Himachal Pradesh have much longer assembly sessions," he said.
Speaker Kuldeep Sharma, however, informed the House that from March 2000 to 2004 (during the INLD rule), the Assembly had 47 sittings as against 81 since the Congress came to power in March 2005.
Towards the end of the day's proceedings, INLD and BJP members staged a symbolic walkout from the House, demanding that duration of the session be increased.
The House extended time till the first sitting of the next session for presentation of the final report by the Committee of Privileges involving former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who is currently serving a jail sentence in Delhi in connection with the teachers recruitment scam.
Earlier, the Assembly paid rich tributes to former Union minister Sis Ram Ola and former Haryana minister Shanti Devi Rathi among others.
The opening day of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government's last budget session began with a 90-minute address of Governor Jagannath Pahadia. The Governor's speech was followed by passing of obituary resolutions.