Congress stages walkout from Himachal Vidhan Sabha over old pension scheme : The Tribune India

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Congress stages walkout from Himachal Vidhan Sabha over old pension scheme

Congress stages walkout from Himachal Vidhan Sabha over old pension scheme

Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri along with other Congress MLAs walks out of the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday. Photo: Amit Kanwar

Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 3

The Congress staged a walkout from the Vidhan Sabha today after the Speaker turned down an adjournment notice given by the Opposition MLAs for a discussion on the issue of restoration of the old pension scheme (OPS) for all government employees.

Govt staff not allowed to hold protests: Agnihotri

  • Kinnaur MLA Jagat Negi sought a debate on OPS issue.
  • The government trying to crush employees’ protest rather than giving them a patient hearing, he alleged.
  • It is unfortunate that the employees are not being allowed to stage protests, said Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri.
  • Congress govt headed by Virbhadra Singh discontinued OPS, said Jai Ram Thakur

More than six Congress MLAs had given the notice under Rule 67, seeking the adjournment of business to discuss the OPS issue. Speaker Vipin Parmar rejected the notice saying that several MLAs had sought a reply on the issue from the government by way of questions so there was no need to discuss it separately.

As the Speaker gave his ruling, the Opposition members along with lone CPM MLA Rakesh Singha trouped into the well of the House, raising slogans in support of the employees’ demand. There was pandemonium in the House and nothing could be heard amidst sloganeering during the Question Hour. Finally, the Congress MLAs staged a walkout.

Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi sought a debate on the OPS issue and said that the government was trying to crush the employees’ protest rather than giving them a patient hearing. “It is for the first time in Himachal that the employees are being intimidated in the name of law and rules,” he added.

Leader of the Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said that it was unfortunate that the employees were not being allowed to stage demonstrations and protests. “Not only the leave of the employees have been cancelled but also Section 144 has been imposed to muffle their voice,” he alleged.

The Congress MLAs said that the government must restore the OPS. They added that the Congress would restore the OPS if voted to power.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the Congress was in habit to stage a walkout. “This clearly shows the absence of an able leadership in the Congress whose MLAs are competing with one another. Today, they seem to have outsourced their leadership to the CPM, whose leader is leading the protest,” he added.

Thakur said that it was the Congress government headed by Virbhadra Singh that discontinued the OPS. “It is wrong to use pressure tactics to get demands accepted. It is improper for the Opposition to instigate the employees against the government. The employees are welcome to place their viewpoint and then leave it to the government to take the final call,” he added.

He said that the employees spearheading the agitation were more committed to a political party than to their jobs. “Our government has been sympathetic towards the demands of the employees. A committee headed by the Chief Secretary has been constituted to look into the matter,” he added.

The Chief Minister and Mukesh Agnihotri had heated exchanges over the OPS issue, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House till tomorrow

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