| Donkupar Roy with other Opposition legislators argue with the Speaker on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Oct. 4: Reactions flew thick and fast over the unprecedented pandemonium at the Assembly on the commencement of the autumn session today.
Leader of the Opposition Donkupar Roy admitted that in his 25 years as legislator, such an incident had never happened before. “It is the first time that the Speaker has refused to admit such an important adjournment motion. Earlier, Speakers never rejected. It appears he acts on the directives of the government,” Roy told reporters.
Underscoring the need for a dialogue between the government and pro-ILP groups, the former chief minister said, “The government seems to incite them by saying there would be no talks. The setting up of a special court may lead to other forms of agitation.”
Recently, the state government had received sanction from Meghalaya High Court to establish a special court to try cases related to the ongoing agitation by pressure groups on the ILP issue as the series of agitation have been viewed as dereliction of judicial rulings.
“We are not happy with the setting up of a special court. Suppose the NGOs also set up their own special court to try others, then what is going to happen?” he asked.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is also the leader of the House, slammed the Opposition members for being incoherent in their approach, and termed the pandemonium as nothing but a “political gimmick”.
“They did not bother to strategise. If they had wanted the adjournment motion to be accepted, they should not have come up with any resolution or motion on the matter. If you are serious, then set your priorities right,” Sangma said.
He also said the Opposition members wanted to play to the gallery and they lacked seriousness. At the same time, he said the government was ready to discuss the ILP issue as and when it comes into the House. If need be, he said, the working hours of the House would also be extended.
Reaffirming his tough stand against the agitating groups, he said the law would be used to regulate every individual. “The past will never happen again and I am not here to play politics,” he said, while indicating that no talks would be held with the groups so long as the agitation continues.
Speaker Abu Taher Mondal said the books and precedents guided him whenever he presided over the House. “An adjournment motion can be admitted if no member has brought up a specific matter in any other form,” Mondal clarified, while asserting he has been maintaining neutrality as the presiding officer.
He informed that a resolution on ILP has been accepted and the House will have to vote on it. To a query, the Speaker said there is a provision for members to storm into the well of the House.
Ruling out any action against the Opposition members, he appealed to all legislators to maintain the decorum of the Assembly.
Veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Salseng C. Marak, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1972, said such pandemonium was unprecedented.
While the uproar was on, the treasury benches introduced the Meghalaya Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill 2013.
Cabinet ministers also introduced the Poison (Meghalaya Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 2013 and the Meghalaya Commission for Protection of Child Rights Rules, 2013.