Opposition Congress on Friday staged a walkout from the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly after the party’s demand for a debate on the deaths of malnourished children was turned down.
As soon as the Zero Hour began, senior Congress member Ramniwas Rawat demanded that an adjournment motion for a debate on malnourished children should be taken up. He pointed out that Congress had been demanding a debate on the issue for the last two days.
Claiming that malnutrition was claiming the lives of 80 children in the state everyday, Rawat said as the winter session of the assembly is coming to an end today, the issue of “utmost importance” should be taken up for discussion.
However, Speaker Sitasharan Sharma said the issue will not be taken up as Rawat, whom he had invited to his chamber yesterday, did not meet him to facilitate a debate on the issue.
Replying to the Speaker’s statement, Rawat said, “You are alleging that I did not come to your chamber yesterday. I allege that you do not want a debate on the deaths of malnourished children.” However, the Speaker asked him not to level “baseless” allegations as it was against the decorum.
“I do not level allegations and I do not intend to do so,” Rawat responded. State Assembly Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra intervened saying the Opposition always disrupted the proceedings of the House.
He said when Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was replying to the debate on earlier adjournment motion in connection with the farmers’ plight after demonetisation— the issue raised by the opposition—Congress members had left the House in the middle of CM’s address two days ago.
The minister said when Rawat sought listing the issue for the debate, senior Congress member Mahendra Singh Kalukheda had stood up and told the House that the issue could be taken up in the next session.
He claimed that after Kalukheda’s “advice”, Rawat did not press for the issue yesterday. Raising the point of order, the minister urged the Speaker to give a ruling on the “unruly behaviour” of the
The Speaker then said that malnutrition issue cannot be taken up for debate and reiterated that he invited Rawat to his chamber but he did turn up for a meeting on the issue.
However, Rawat continued to press for an adjournment motion on the issue. He was joined by the acting Leader of the Opposition Bala Bachchan.
Rawat alleged that the Chair was doing the work of the government. Thereafter, the Congress members walked out of the House.
Outside the House, Rawat claimed, “10,000 children below six years have died in the state between July and October this year, which accounts for 80 kids deaths per day.”
“This has brought disgrace to MP nationally and internationally,” he said, adding that when their demand for debate was not accepted, they staged a walkout.
Bachchan said the government is shying off from the debate as it wants to avoid criticism. “We want the government to save the children,” he added.