GUWAHATI: Within 24 hours of national BJP president Amit Shah laying the foundation stone of the party’s State office at Basistha in Guwahati on Sunday, the office site embroiled in a controversy that rocked the State Assembly on Monday.
The issue came up during a cut motion of the Water Resources Department when Congress MLA Kamalakshya Dey Purkayastha questioned as to how a land of the Department could be handed over to the BJP by the government. He said that there was a proposal to construct the office of the river research centre where the BJP is going to erect its State office now. He even said that the Water Resources Department has already lodged an FIR in that connection.
This prompted Minister Ranjit Dutta to verbally attack Purkayastha, and said: “You better confine your statement within the cut motion of Water Resources Department. Why are you trying to embroil the BJP in? This discussion is on a cut motion of the Water Resources Department. How come the BJP is mentioned here?”
Another minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya then stood, and said: “Who told you that’s a department’s land? Keep away from talking anything you aren’t fully aware of. A Cabinet decision has been taken for handing over the land. Stay away from doing politics for power.”
Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi then launched a scathing attack on the government with more vigour asking it as to why it should allot a plot of land of the Water Resources Department to the BJP. What followed next was just constant babbling as none of the members of the House was ready to hear the other said.
At that very moment Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami entered the House. Earlier, Deputy Speaker Kripanath Mallah was in the chair. The Speaker brought the House under control within a few minutes. He had to speak on House decorum for a while. “The Assembly should maintain its dignity at all cost. I want this House to be an exceptional one. If Water Resources Department’s land has been given to the BJP, it can be discussed through other means like ‘point of order’. We are all elected MLAs. We’re duty-bound to contribute only what benefits the people we represent. Ministers should also have patience,” he said.
At one time, the Speaker had to shout at Rupjyoti Kurmi of the Congress and Dr. Numal Momin of the BJP in his bid to bring the situation under control. When peace was restored in the House, Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia said: “The land in question was approved by the land advisory committee. However, the land was that of the Water Resources Department which had purchased it at Rs 8 lakh from a private party in 1967. Originally it was not a government land. Now the government has handed over the land to the BJP.”
Siddhartha Bhattacharya then said: “The Cabinet has also approved the handing over of the land.” Hearing both the parties, the Speaker told Saikia to hand over all documents relating to the land to him. Outside the Assembly later, Saikia showed the FIR filed by the Water Resources Department at Basistha police station stating that some miscreants demolished its Assam Water Mission building located at Basistha.
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