Uproar in Assembly over NC Hills scam

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  • Published 8.02.11

Guwahati, Feb. 7: The Assam Assembly today passed the vote on accounts for 2011-12 amidst chants of “shame, shame” by the Opposition, which remained steadfast on its demand for government action in the North Cachar Hills scam.

Today’s development was a virtual repeat of what had been witnessed in the first four days of the session, before the two-day break from Saturday, indicating that the last day of the session — and also that of the present Assembly — tomorrow would have a similar fate.

In between, the Opposition demand for “vichar” (justice) in the case and the government’s response, truth appeared to have been the biggest casualty, evident as it was from the charges and counter-charges that the ruling Congress and the united Opposition traded outside the House to justify their respective stands.

The day, in fact, got under way with the Opposition demanding the handing over of all departments involved in the scam to the CBI and action against tainted ministers, only to see the House adjourned by the Speaker after a minute into the Question Hour.

The other scheduled government businesses were rushed through by voice vote, as the Opposition did not budge from its stand after the House resumed. These included the approval of vote on accounts, amendments, Jyoti-Bishnu University of Art and Culture Bill, 2011, tabling of sports policy and comptroller and auditor general (CAG) reports.

Attacking the Opposition outside the House, Congress ministers Bharat Narah, Pradyut Bordoloi, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rockeybul Hussain accused it of trying to mislead the people and being unconcerned about the welfare of the general public by not participating in the discussion on vote on accounts, and added that they had come prepared to clear the air on the scam case. But the Opposition was interested only in “cheap” publicity and had no courage to know the answers.

Opposition leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta returned fire, with active support from AIUDF’s Sirajuddin Ajmal, Aditya Langthasa, Left’s Udhab Barman, BJP’s Mission Ranjan Das and Independent Bhubon Pegu.

Mahanta contended that the state could make a special request to the CBI, citing the swift probe into the 2G Spectrum case and the arrest of A. Raja.

He also pointed out that the treasury bench had the numbers to get the vote on accounts passed, “so the argument that we have no concern for the people is misleading.”

“Our demands could have been met within a minute. Just see how swiftly the CBI had moved in the spectrum case. Are they spokespersons of the CBI to say they will take 30 years? NC Hills is a small case compared to the 2G case,” asserted Mission Ranjan Das.

The vote on accounts was required for smooth functioning of the government since the regular budget would be tabled after the Assembly elections in April.