All the Congress Members of Legislative Assembly, who created a ruckus in the Gujarat assembly on Tuesday over the water crisis facing many parts of the state, were suspended by Speaker Vaju Vala for a day.
Leader of Opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela raised the issue of water scarcity in Kutch, Saurashtra and North Gujarat region and demanded the suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue.
However, the Speaker refused to accept the demand, holding that he had no such suo motu powers to do so and that he could allow discussion on the subject only if opposition leaders and the government in concurrence submit a proposal to the effect.
Following the Speaker's ruling, Congress members started sloganeering and thumping of benches; 14 of them rushed to the well of the house and sat there in protest.
The Speaker then ordered their suspension for a day and marshals were asked to take them out of the House.
The remaining 40-odd Congress MLAs also rushed to the well of the House in protest and sat there.
Taking strong exception to it, the Speaker suspended them from the House for a day and ordered Marshals to 'respectfully' take them out of the house.
After the Question Hour, state Finance Minister Nitin Patel, while condemning the behaviour of the opposition members, requested the Speaker to withdraw their suspension.
However, the Speaker rejected the request and said, "My ruling was in response to the indiscipline by the members and to maintain the respect and honour of the House. I did not take the decision of suspension on your proposal. I have suo motu suspended them for indiscipline, so keep your softness with you," the Speaker told Patel.
Later, while addressing the media outside the house, Leader of Opposition Vaghela alleged that the state government has shown no sensitivity to the problem of drinking water.
"Since the beginning of the assembly session, we have sent 17 requests to the office of the Speaker, under different rules of the House, seeking discussion in the house on the deteriorating water crisis. But the government has steadfastly refused to agree," he alleged.
Showing a written reply to one of the notices given by Congress MLA from Talala Jasu Barad, Vaghela said, "The Speaker's office rejected the demand for a discussion on the ground that the concerned minister has no time for it."
"Now we have decided to take up the issue with the people and shortly we will start a state-wide agitation," he announced.