GUWAHATI, Feb 7 � The issue of corruption continued to rock the Assam Legislative Assembly and the Vote on Account as well as several major Bills were passed by voice vote amidst protests and slogan shouting by the Opposition members. For the fourth consecutive day, not a single question was discussed in the Question Hour because of protests by the Opposition members.
As soon as the House assembled for the day at 9 am, the Opposition members jumped to their feet and started shouting slogans in support of their demands. The Opposition members are demanding that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be entrusted with the responsibility of probing into all the financial irregularities in NC Hills Autonomous Council and the Ministers suspected to be involved in the scam should be dropped to pave the way for impartial probe.
The Speaker, Tanka Bahadur Rai adjourned the House till 10 am amidst protests by the Opposition members. As soon as the House re-assembled, the Speaker tried to persuade the Opposition members to allow the Vote on Account for four months to be passed. Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who moved the Assam Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 2011 on behalf of the Chief Minister, also sought two minutes from the Opposition members to pass the Bill. But later, the Bill, authorizing the Government to withdraw Rs 11741,42,35,000 from and out of the consolidated fund of the State for the year 2011-12, was passed in voice vote amidst slogan shouting by the Opposition members.
The Assam Legislative Assembly also passed a number of Bills including the Assam Panchayat & Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2011, Assam Municipal (Amendment) Bill, 2011, The Jyoti Bishnu University of Art and Culture Bill, 2011, etc by voice vote without any discussion. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Bharat Chandra Narah also placed the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India while the Opposition members continued shouting "shame-shame".
Meanwhile, addressing press conferences after the day's proceedings of the House, both ruling and Opposition parties traded charges against each other.
Bharat Chandra Narah alleged that the Opposition members showed disrespect to Jyoti Prasad Agarwala and Bishnu Prasad Rabha, the two great sons of Assam by shouting slogans at a time when a Bill to set up a university in their names was passed by the House. He said that the Opposition was not serious in discussing the scam in NC Hills as they did not participate in the question hour when the second question of the day was on that issue.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Opposition members should have participated in the discussion on the vote on account, but they "refused to do so just to attract cheap publicity." He said that now the Opposition cannot take any credit for passing of important Bills including the landmark one for setting up a cultural university in the names of two illustrious sons of the State.
Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain claimed that the Chief Minister has already issued instructions for handing over all cases relating to financial scams in NC Hills to the CBI. He said that the cases to the CBI should be forwarded to in prescribed forms and " the Bureau will not take any case if that is not sent in the prescribed format." He alleged that the Opposition members hatched a conspiracy so that the culprits manage to go scot free.
Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said that the Government wanted a healthy debate on its performance in the last five years but the Opposition refused to do that.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said that the Opposition parties would continue to raise the demand for removal of the Ministers suspected to be involved in the scam and handing over all cases to the CBI both inside and outside the House. He said that the CBI should be allowed to probe into the role of the Ministers in the scam. He also pointed out that the Ministers who violated the Cabinet decision of routing the funds sent to the Council through the Hill Areas Department should have been dropped immediately.
Mahanta further alleged that the Speaker failed to play an impartial role in the House and termed the suspension of BJP legislator Prasanta Phukan as �undemocratic�.