A no-confidence motion moved by the Congress and the CPI-M against the Jai Ram Thakur government in Himachal Pradesh was defeated by voice vote in the state Assembly on Thursday.
The Opposition MLAs walked out of the House during Chief Minister Thakur's reply to the debate on the motion.
The House witnessed a stormy debate as the Opposition members targeted the BJP government over law and order, unemployment, price rise and other issues.
The ruling BJP rejected the charges claiming the Opposition has failed to come up with any concrete issue.
The Opposition parties moved the motion, just four months before the State is going to the Assembly polls.
Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, Congress MLAs Jagat Singh Negi, Ram Lal Thakur, Harshwardhan Chauhan, Sukhvinder Sukhu and lone CPI-M legislator Rakesh Singha spoke in support of the motion.
Chief Minister Thakur, his Cabinet colleagues Rakesh Pathania, Bikram Singh Thakur, Sukh Ram Chaudhary and BJP MLA Rajeev Bindal spoke for the government.
Law and order situation
Starting the debate at 11 am, Mukesh Agnihotri said the law and order situation in the State has deteriorated under the BJP government.
He said 354 murders, 1,574 rapes and 7,406 sexual harassment cases have so far been reported in the state under the Thakur-led government.
He said an assistant town and country planner, Shail Bala, was shot dead in broad daylight while a Supreme Court-mandated drive to demolish illegal structures in 13 hotels of Solan district was being carried out in 2018.
Agnihotri said the probe into a paper leak during the recruitment of constables was not handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) despite the CM’s announcement.
Congress legislator Jagat Singh Negi said the Chief Minister has gained the reputation of a "helicopter waale mukhyamantri" and "hoardings waale Mukhyamantri" for excessive use of choppers and hoardings by him.
Congress MLA Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said it should be made public why the state government removed chief secretary Anil Kumar Khachi from his post.
He said the police officials involved in the constables’ recruitment paper leak are being shielded by the BJP government.
The lone CPI-M MLA, Rakesh Singha, said he knew that the motion will be defeated but he signed the notice for it to raise issues like the old-pension scheme (OPS).
Replying to the debate, Chief Minister Thakur said he has already raised the pension issue with the Centre. "Let us see what happens," he said urging the Opposition not to politicise it. Thakur said the Congress should not mislead state employees on the issue as it was their government that started the new pension scheme.
The reality is that it is very difficult for the Congress-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to implement the old pension scheme without getting help from the Centre, he added.
On the paper leak, Thakur said the state government decided to hand over the probe to the CBI but it could not pressure agency to take over it.
He also appreciated the probe done by the special investigation team (SIT) of the state police in this case and said the process for the recruitment of the constables has almost been completed after the written test was reconducted.
On changing the chief secretary, Thakur said it is the government’s prerogative. If any chief secretary is removed, he is suitably adjusted, he said, adding that chief secretaries were also appointed surpassing others during the successive Congress governments.
Commenting on the Opposition’s walkout, Thakur said the Congress failed to show seriousness while participating in the debate.
The Congress MLAs had started raising slogans over the time given for the debate as the CM rose from his seat to reply to the debate.
The Congress legislators started raising slogans "yeh sarkar luteri hai", "Ali Baba chalis chor", with the ruling BJP MLAs countering them with "chor machaye shor" slogan.
At this, the speaker said the time for debate was allocated after discussion with the leader of opposition and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj.
When the speaker asked the CM to start his reply, the Opposition walked out of the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said the Opposition violated an Assembly rule by walking out from the House during the CM’s reply despite.
BJP legislator Rajeev Bindal alleged that the Congress is befooling people by promising to provide ₹1,500 to each woman aged from 18 to 60 if it voted to power.
He questioned from where the money will come as the state will be requiring ₹450 crore per month for it.
The notice for the motion was given by 22 Congress MLAs and the lone CPM legislator in the assembly on Wednesday.
The BJP has 43 MLAs in the 68-member House, while the Congress has 22. There are two Independents and one CPI(M) MLA. The two Independent MLAs--Hoshiyar Singh (Dehra) and Prakash Rana (Joginder Nagar)--had joined the BJP in June but in the Assembly records, they are still independent MLAs.