Gandhinagar: All the Congress MLAs, who created ruckus in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday over water crisis facing many parts of the state, were suspended by Speaker Vaju Vala for a day. As soon as the question hour commenced, Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela raised the issue of water scarcity in Kutch, Saurashtra and North Gujarat region and demanded suspension of question hour to discuss the issue.
However, the Speaker refused to accept the demand holding that he had no such suo motu powers to do so and that he could allow discussion on the subject only if opposition leader and government in concurrence submit a proposal to the effect.
Following the Speaker's ruling, Congress members started sloganeering and thumping of benches and 14 of them rushed to the well of the house and sat their in protest. The Speaker then ordered their suspension for a day and marshals were asked to take them out of the house.
When only couple of minutes left before the completion of the question hour, remaining 40 odd Congress MLAs also rushed to the well of the House in protest and sat there. Taking strong exception to it, the Speaker suspended them as well from the House for a day and ordered Marshals to 'respectfully' take them out of the house.
After the question hour, state Finance Minister Nitin Patel, while condemning the behaviour of the opposition members, requested the speaker to withdraw their suspension. However, the Speaker rejected the request and held that, "my ruling was in response to the indiscipline by the members and to maintain the respect and honour of the House. I did not take the decision of suspension on your proposal. I have suo motu suspended them for indiscipline, so keep your softness with you," Speaker told Patel.
Later, while addressing the media outside the house, Leader of Opposition Vaghela alleged that state government has shown no sensitivity to the problem of drinking water. "Since the beginning of the Assembly session, we have sent 17 requests to the office of the Speaker, under different rules of the House, seeking discussion in the house on deteriorating water crisis. But the government has steadfastly refused to agree," he alleged.
Showing a written reply to one of the notices given by Congress MLA from Talala Jasu Barad, Vaghela said that, "the Speaker's office rejected the demand for a discussion on the ground that the concerned minister has no time for it."
"Now we have decided to take up the issue with the people and shortly we will be starting a state-wide agitation," he announced.