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Absentee ministers spark Opposition ire

ASSEMBLY DISCUSSION ON STATE BUDGET

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 9: There have been instances galore in the State of governments piously talking about upholding democratic traditions and values, but with their ministers behaving in contrary manner. One such instance was witnessed on Thursday in the Assembly when discussion on the State Budget was in progress. Surprisingly, not a single minister of the present dispensation and officials concerned were present in the House, leading to an unprecedented situation.

Taking serious note of their absence, Congress MLA Abdul Khalek drew attention of BPF MLA Rabiram rzary who was conducting House proceedings at that time in the absence of the Speaker for few minutes. Khalek said it was really unfortute that ministers and officials concerned were conspicuous by their absence when a discussion on the State Budget was taking place in the House. “This should not happen. It must also be ensured that ministers and officers remain present in the House when such a serious discussion takes place,” added Khalek.

Supporting Khalek’s view, other opposition members also expressed unhappiness over the issue, creating an uproar in the House. rzary then informed the House that he would discuss the matter with the Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

In the meantime, BJP MLA Tapan Kumar Gogoi told the House that he was noting the points of discussion. Protesting, Khalek said, “It is not the work of MLAs to keep note of House proceedings. It is the duty of ministers and they should be present in the House.”

After entering the House later, Speaker Hitendra th Goswami expressed displeasure over the issue and said he would discuss it with the ministers concerned. A few minutes after the Speaker’s summons, Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma entered the House, followed by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.  After the House proceedings were over, the Speaker told media persons that he had spoken to the Parliamentary Affairs Minister on the issue and the Chief Secretary has been directed to look into the matter.

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Ankur Kalita