20 Gujarat Congress MLAs suspended for entering Well of the House
Gandhinagar: Around 20 Congress MLAs were suspended for a day by Gujarat Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava today after they rushed into the well of the House and started shouting slogans against the state government on the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for cotton.
On the last day of Assembly session today, Congress MLA from Jamnagar-Rural Raghavji Patel interrupted the proceedings of the House and insisted a debate on the MSP offered to cotton growing farmers, as he claimed that the MSP is very low.
Patel was also unhappy over Speaker's decision of not including his question about the MSP in the Question Hour. However, Speaker stopped him from raking up the issue and claimed that the decision of not including his question was taken by former speaker.
As an interim solution, Vasava asked Patel to discuss the issue with state Agriculture Minister in his office after the day's proceedings end.
Not convinced, Patel along with many other Congress MLAs started shouting slogans “Give justice to farmers”. They came prepared with placards having such texts and rushed to the well of the House.
After repeated warnings, Vasava finally suspended these 20-odd MLAs who entered the well and were protesting while asking the marshals to take them out of the House.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Shankersinh Vaghela, former LoP and senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil and Congress Chief Whip Balwantsinh Rajput along with 10 other MLAs, who were not suspended as they had not entered the well of the house, walked out of the House in their support.
Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, Vaghela said the state government is trying to silence the voice of peoples' representatives.
“To save the cotton growing farmers from incurring huge losses, our MLA asked the government to declare Rs 1500/ 20 kg as the MSP for purchasing cotton from them. However, we were not allowed to raise this issue. It seems that government is running away from real issues,” alleged Vaghela.
Without taking the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vaghela also took a dig on the BJP-led government at the Centre for misleading people on the issue of black money.
“He (Modi) took votes and came into power by promising to bring back black money from Swiss banks within 100 days of assuming power.
Now, we want him to fulfill his promise and deposit Rs 15 lakhs in the bank accounts of every citizen as promised ahead of elections,” said Vaghela.
In reply to Vaghela's claims of insufficient MSP given to farmers, Gujarat Agriculture Minister Babu Bokhiria told mediamen that the MSP was declared during UPA government.
The MSP for cotton in Gujarat is Rs 810/ 20 Kg, while Congress wants it to be Rs 1500/20 Kg.
“A central committee declares the MSP once every year. We can not change it. This is technical matter, not a political decision. Based on the MSP of Rs 810 decided by the Centre, we have planned to set up 47 purchase centers across Gujarat to buy cotton from farmers” said Bokhiria.
“Agitation by Congress is just another political stunt.
Out of 47 centers, 14 centers are already operational and farmers have started selling their cotton at stipulated MSP. This shows that Congress' claims about farmers being unhappy is utterly baseless,” claimed Bokhiria.