Speaker’s word of caution irks Congress
Guwahati, Sept 14: Opposition Congress on Wednesday staged a walk out in the Assam assembly for the second consecutive day over reduction of time for supplementary queries during Question Hour.
Other Opposition members also joined them in alleging that time and means for them to speak about problems faced by people were being reduced by the BJP-led Government.
As the House witnessed repeated noisy scenes over the issue, the State Government conceded that the time limit for supplementary queries can be revisited.
A decision at the assembly’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting on Monday to allot five minutes for supplementary queries for each question during the Question Hour has led to the latest stand-off between the two sides.
Previously, the number of supplementary questions was confined to allowing two MLAs besides the main questioner, but no time limit was fixed.
When speaker Biswajit Daimary disallowed supplementary queries during the Question Hour, citing the five-minute rule, Congress MLAs briefly walked out of the House in protest.
“We are not allowed to speak. If this is the case, we can just sit at home and watch the proceedings online,” Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha said outside the House.
AIUDF legislator Ashraful Hussain added, “Our party had so many important points to raise, which are well within the rules of the House. But, we are not given the opportunity.”
Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi, who was suspended for the duration of the Question Hour for ‘disrupting proceedings’, also alleged that the voice of the Opposition was being stifled.
Later, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pijush Hazarika said: “The decision was taken at the BAC meeting. If needed, the next meeting can discuss it once again.”
Meanwhile, the Assam Assembly speaker’s word of caution to a Congress MLA over risk of facing disqualification from his party for remaining in the House after a walk-out by the Opposition party led to noisy scenes on Wednesday.
Daimary had to clarify that his words were only to alert the Congress legislator of the rules so that he may not violate it unknowingly.
The speaker said it was his responsibility to inform the House that if any MLA participates in the proceedings while his or her party was abstaining from it, the member could face disqualification notice from the party.
Raking up the matter after Question Hour, deputy leader of Opposition and Congress MLA Rakibul Hussain said the speaker’s words have ‘hurt’ his party.
“We are deeply saddened at the words coming from the Chair that a member of Congress can face problems,” he said.
Seeking to clarify his stance yet again, the speaker said, “I am just like any of you. I have to run the House as per rules.
“My statement on the disqualification notice was addressed to the House. And to Barman was only whether he wanted to raise the question or not,” Daimary added. (PTI)