GAIRSAIN: In what is the last Assembly session of the present government, the Opposition on Thursday staged a walkout over the issue of Gairsain on the first day of the Assembly session.
As soon as the House began its sitting and the Question Hour began, the Opposition raised the issue of Gairsain and questioned the government whether they intended to make Gairsain the state capital.
However, on the request by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, the Opposition allowed the Question Hour to proceed uninterrupted. However as soon as the Question Hour ended, Opposition members were back on their feet, demanding clarification on the issue of Gairsain demanding suspension of business under Rule 310, and discussion on the issue of Gairsain. The Opposition members were fewer by 17 in number but led by the Leader of Opposition, Ajay Bhatt the opposition charged the government of trying to mislead the people over Gairsain. The Opposition members claimed that an amount of more than Rs 100 crores had been spent on construction of buildings in Gairsain without actually committing to a stand on permanent capital of the state.
The Opposition members further claimed that the buildings had been constructed in Gairsain at a total cost of over Rs 100 crores but now a Government Order had been issued to rent out these buildings and that the ownership had been transferred to Government Estate Department. They also demanded that the Government clarify its stand over Gairsain and inform the House if it wanted Gairsain to be made permanent capital of Uttarakhand or it wanted Gairsain to be summer capital of Uttarakhand. The treasury bench refused to oblige and as a result, the House had to be adjourned till 3 pm by the Speaker.
However, when the House reassembled post lunch session, the Opposition members were again on their feet, demanding discussion on Gairsain by suspending the business of the House under Rule 310. However not surprisingly, the Government did not budge and let the Opposition members continue their protest. When the Opposition members’ protest did not yield the desired reaction from the government, the Opposition members walked out.
Soon after the walkout, the government tabled no less than 15 bills one by one, most of which were passed without any discussion at all. The Government also tabled the Supplementary Grants Bills of Rs 1507 crores.
Later, speaking informally to the media persons, Leader of Opposition, Ajay Bhatt and the chief whip of BJP Legislative Party Madan Kaushik claimed that the Government was not serious to clarify its stand vis-à-vis Gairsain and the a huge amount of over Rs 100 crores that was wasted to create infrastructure without any commitment or stand on Gairsain merely to mislead the people. Bhatt claimed that had the government made the commitment to declare Gairsain as permanent capital of Uttarakhand, the Opposition would have fully supported the move. But the government was not making its stand clear. Bhatt added that the government had issued a GO handing over the ownership of the Vidhan Bhawan to Government Estate Department and had told it to fix rent value of the guest houses there. He charged that the government wanted to make the buildings at Gairsain as guest houses.
On the other hand, Chief Minister Harish Rawat charged the Opposition of not being serious on Gairsain. He added that BJP ought to make its stand clear on Gairsain. It should give in writing what it wanted in respect of Gairsain and the government would seriously consider the intention of the Opposition with utmost sincerity. He claimed that the government was moving towards a specific direction on Gairsain.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Indira Hridayesh claimed that the Opposition members were not serious over the current session and that was evident from the fact that 17 members of BJP did not attend the House on Thursday and from the fact that the Opposition members did not stay in the House for long.