Guj Speaker rejects demand to suspend Cong MLAs



Gandhinagar: Gujarat Assembly speaker Vajubhai Vala Wednesday rejected the ruling BJP members' demand to suspend the Congress MLAs who came to the House wearing protection masks.

Enraged over Health Minister Nitin Patel's yesterday's remark that opposition might be happy over the rising number of swine flu deaths in Gujarat, Congress MLAs earlier today wore protection masks in the House, by way of protest.

Health Minister Patel then introduced a motion demanding that if Congress members did not remove the masks, they should be suspended for a day for violating the House rules.

Congress MLAs demanded suspension of question hour and a debate on the swine flu issue. When the Speaker rejected it, and also asked them to take off the masks, all the Congress MLAs walked out and boycotted the question hour.

On their return, Minister of State for Legislative Affairs Pradipsinh Jadeja again raised the motion introduced by the Health Minister. However, the Speaker ruled that as the members who were wearing the masks had walked out, there was no issue.

When treasury benches insisted that Speaker allow voting on the motion, Vala refused.

"Your motion was conditional that if they don't remove the masks they should be suspended, and as they all walked out of the house, issue ended there. Once the issue has been resolved, House can’t permit another motion on the same issue," he said, amid appreciative thumps on the desks from the opposition.

During the day's proceedings, the Speaker also ordered on several occasions the BJP MLAs who were sitting elsewhere to return to their assigned seats.

PTI