Chandigarh, March 9
Pandemonium was witnessed during Question Hour in the State Assembly on Thursday when members of the BJP and Congress sparred on the issue of Baba Ramdev’s involvement in World Herbal Forest to be developed in Morni Hills. The hubbub continued for nearly 30 minutes resulting in waste of half of the time allocated to Question Hour and during this Congress MLAs were seen walking up to the Speaker thrice and arguing with him over the conduct of the BJP members. The ruckus started after Tourism Minister Ram Bilas Sharma had answered a question by BJP MLA from Kalka Latika Sharma regarding government’s proposal, if any, to develop Morni area of her constituency into a tourist spot and Health Minister Anil Vij stood up to inform about World Herbal Park to be developed in the Morni Hills under guidance and technical support of Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar.
Congress MLA from Palwal Karan Singh Dalal stood up and questioned Vij’s locus standi to answer the question and he also asked how costly land in the Morni Hills had been “doled out” by the state government to Ramdev. “Do you have springs in your feet that you stand every time?” Vij asked Dalal as he told him to sit down in an angry tone. Dalal, however, stood his ground and further alleged that though VIj was Health Minister, he was promoting “inferior quality” drugs by Ramdev. When Vij pointed out that Ramdev was brand ambassador of the state and the state government had not given land to him but was merely developing the World Herbal Park under his guidance, a Congress member quipped, “Seth Ramdev Kaho (call him Seth Ramdev).” Soon, other members of the Congress like Kuldeep Sharma, Anand Singh Dangi and Geeta Bhukkal and BJP ministers and MLAs Manish Grover, Krishan Bedi and Kamal Gupta started shouting at one another. Grover’s comments, “Take them out of the House by holding them from their ears,” aggravated the situation further after which Congress legislators went up to the Speaker demanding an apology from the minister. BJP members said Congress MLA Kuldeep Sharma had used similar words for Vij in the House, but Sharma said he had already apologised. Later, Randeep Surjewala said it was unfortunate that words like “take them out of House holding them from their ears” have been used for women members, one of them Dalit and a former minister, and alleged that the ruling party members were completely uncontrolled. However, the Finance Minister objected to Surjewala’s comments saying he was questioning the fairness of the Speaker. The ruling party members also denied having used the words for women members saying these were directed at Dalal. While all this was happening, the INLD members sat quietly watching the BJP and the Congress members spar. While the commotion was still continuing, the Speaker announced the end of Question Hour. Earlier, MLAs Udai Bhan, Bhagwan Dass Kabirpanthi, Om Prakash Barwa, Lalit Nagar, Pawan Saini and some other members also asked questions.