Ruckus in House as Dhir yet to get grip on Chair duties

The winter session of the Delhi Assembly witnessed unprecedented scenes as the Speaker of the House, Maninder Singh Dhir, a first-time MLA, struggled to get a grip on his job.

The Speaker was often caught unaware of basic rules and regulations for conduct of the House.

Old timers such as BJP's Jagdish Mukhi had to cry themselves hoarse as he maintained that in zero hour (under rule 280 of the Delhi Assembly Act) it was his Constitutional right to speak as he had given his request in writing to the Speaker well in advance.

"We have been members of this House for past 25 to 30 years and you by denying us the zero hour is breaking tradition,'' a visibly upset Mukhi said.

Despite the protest from the BJP, the Speaker stuck to his stand that Mukhi will be given a chance only after a vote of thanks on the Lieutenant-Governor's address. This prompted Sahib Singh Chauhan (BJP) to demand that the House be adjourned if the Speaker cannot rule the House by the rule book.

All this happened while the Speaker was being "guided" by secretary P N Mishra and his staff.

However, some help came Dhir's way from ally Congress. Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely suggested that zero hour be suspended.

In another instance, while JD(U) MLA Shoaib Iqbal was speaking, BJP MLA Sahib Singh Chauhan started countering, creating a ruckus in the House.

This time Dhir rose to the occasion, and directed Chauhan to sit down and let Iqbal speak.

On several occasions, BJP members waved the rule book at Dhir and often criticised the chair for not knowing rules or implementing them properly while conducting the business of the House.

BJP MLAs even staged a walk-out in protest.

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