Cong MLAs raise a storm, suspended for the day

Were demanding a debate on water scarcity in Saurashtra-Kutch.

Almost all Congress MLAs were suspended for a day on Tuesday by Speaker Vaju Vala on disciplinary grounds for creating an uproar when their demand for a special debate on water scarcity in Saurashtra-Kutch region during the question hour was turned down.

As the question hour began, Congress Legislative Party leader Shankersinh Vaghela demanded a special debate on the alleged prevailing water crisis in eight districts of the region. However, Vala, citing rules, asked the Opposition to put a request in consent with the ruling party to him.

As Vala ordered to start the question hour, Congress members began shouting slogans and thumping their desks to demand a debate.

The speaker and ruling BJP members including Chief Minister Narendra Modi, however, put on earphones and proceeded with the session.

But the Congress members kept on shouting slogans like "Paani Appo" and "Shame BJP". They also tore papers related to the question hour and gathered on the floor just opposite to Vala's chair.

The Speaker then began suspending each group of Congress members as they came and sat on the floor.

Amreli MLA Paresh Dhanani and a few others, who resisted the order, were lifted up and taken away by marshals.

Only two Congress MLAs, Vaghela and Mohan Rathva, who chose to leave the House on their own, were spared the day-long suspension.

The Speaker held that a special debate could not be allowed during the question hour, which is reserved exclusively for question-answer session. He said the Opposition and the ruling party could jointly put forward a demand for the same.

Somnath Congress MLA Jasu Barad, however, waved a letter claiming a request by him for a special debate was turned down by the Assembly's section officer. The letter, dated March 18, read, "This is not an urgent matter. And the concerned minister does not have time to give answer."

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