Shimla, Feb 21: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Friday said the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had worked against the spirit of democracy by boycotting the entire budget session of the assembly.
“The leader of opposition (Prem Kumar Dhumal) and the members have failed in their prime responsibility of taking up public issues in the assembly, which is the most important platform,” the chief minister said in his concluding remarks in the assembly that was adjourned sine die.
He called the total boycott a well thought-out strategy of the BJP. “There was no reason for the boycott. The government did put in efforts to make them attend the session, but they did not relent.”
Virbhadra Singh said he had never heard of such a stand by any opposition party across the country. “Even in the Lok Sabha, parties stage walkouts on issues for short periods and then come back,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate the BJP members came to the Vidhan Sabha complex and sat outside under the sun, rather than participate in important debates.
The BJP legislators boycotted all sittings of the house from Feb 7, the day the state’s budget was presented, over Virbhadra Singh’s “humiliating” remark.
BJP state president Satpal Satti said Virbhadra Singh had remarked that BJP legislators “are bonded labourers”.
Official sources said his comment was indirectly aimed at former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Earlier, the opposition was disrupting the house since the session began Feb 3.
Replying to the budget debate, Virbhadra Singh said: “It’s for the first time that the opposition has not only interrupted the governor’s address but also boycotted the budget speech and discussions thereon.”
He said: “It was a move to pressurise the government on the enquiries into acts of omission and commission and wrongdoings in the previous BJP regime, those in HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) and other matters.”