The no-confidence motion moved by the opposition BJP against the Congress government in Chhattisgarh where Assembly polls are due next year, was defeated by voice vote in the state Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
The House witnessed a stormy debate over the no-confidence motion as the opposition members targeted the Congress government over its “infighting", alleged corruption and non-fulfilment of its poll promises, while the ruling party rejected the charges claiming the opposition has failed to come up with any concrete issue.
The BJP presented an 84-point charge-sheet against the state government during the 13-hour debate on the motion, which was defeated by voice vote after midnight. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel responded to the debate before the motion was defeated. Leader of Opposition Dharam Lal Kaushik tabled the charge-sheet in the House.
Initiating the debate, senior BJP MLA Brijmohan Agrawal hit out at the Congress government and said the no-trust motion was brought as a minister had himself expressed no confidence in chief minister Baghel. Neither the CM has confidence in his cabinet colleagues, nor the administration has faith in the government, he claimed.
“Why didn’t the chief minister expel that minister? The CM does not have the courage. Even the minister did not have courage and wanted to stick to the cabinet," Agrawal claimed. He was referring to minister T S Singh Deo, who on July 16 resigned from the panchayat and rural development department, one of the four portfolios held by him, claiming he was being sidelined.
In a four-page letter to the chief minister, Singh Deo had cited various reasons saying he was unable to fulfil targets of the department as per the vision of the Jan Ghoshna Patra (poll manifesto), given the “current scenario" and expressed disappointment over non-implementation of. Singh Deo remained absent in the Assembly during the ongoing monsoon session.
Agrawal claimed that the state was reeling under a debt of Rs 1.75 lakh crore as a result of poor financial management. Citing claims made by the minister in his letter to the CM, Agrawal alleged that the state government snatched 18 lakh houses of the poor, to whom they were entitled under the Prime Minister Aawas Yojana (PMAY) as funds under the state’s share were not provided for the scheme.
He said a committee headed by chief secretary was constituted to approve the works of the panchayat department against the Rule of Business. “How can officials grant a nod to the works approved by a minister?" he asked.
He also levelled allegations against the government on several fronts. Amid interruptions by the ruling party members, Agrawal said he has been a member of the assembly for the last 33 years and had participated in at least 10 debates on the no-confidence motion although he had never faced this kind of disruption.
Refuting the charges, Chhattisgarh Congress chief and MLA Mohan Markam said the state government has fulfilled 30 out of its 36 poll promises in the last three-and-a-half years. He highlighted the government’s achievements and said the Congress government had waived the loans of farmers, provided Rs 2,500 per quintal to farmers against procuring their paddy on support price.
He claimed that the unemployment rate has significantly declined in the state. He alleged that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) indulged in dividing the people and society.
Agriculture Minister Ravindra Choubey said the faith of people in the Congress government has grown as the government has done what it has promised. The BJP in its charge-sheet claimed that the Income Tax department conducted raids at the premises of a coal trader, who is close to the ruling party and other persons, and unearthed illegal money collection on coal transportation in the state.
It is clear from the press note released by the IT after raids that coal mafias are flourishing in the state and unfair collection to the tune of thousands or crores was done in the last three years under the protection of the government, it alleged. The BJP also claimed scams in different schemes and departments in the state government.
BJP MLA Ajay Chandrakar’s remark that the holiday declared on the world indigenous peoples’ day was politically motivated, drew criticism from the treasury benches. The Congress MLAs demanded an apology from Chandrakar claiming his remarks insult the tribals.
CM Baghel also said that the member (Chandrakar) has indulged in making several comments showing disregard to the tribal community and against his cabinet member Kawasi Lakhma. On the direction of the chair, Chandrakar said if his statement given inside or outside the House has hurt anyone, he wholeheartedly apologises for it.