Heated debate in AP Assembly over Speaker's conduct of House

Heated debate in AP Assembly over Speaker's conduct of House

The trouble began during Question Hour with Opposition members alleging that they are not getting ample time to speak while Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and ministers were allowed to speak for long.

Amid protests by the members over not being given adequate time to speak and a reply from Legislative Affairs Minister K Rosaiah, the Speaker adjourned the House for ten minutes to restore order. The Chief Minister too spoke on the occasion.

The Opposition parties cited the example of Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, TDP member E Dayakar Rao being suspended from the House earlier and BJP MLA G Kishan Reddy being denied the opportunity to speak in support of their contention that they are not being treated properly.

Speaking after the House re-assembled, Naidu said Opposition parties were feeling "hurt and humiliated" over the way they are treated and how the House is adjourned on an earlier occasion after the Chief Minister sought an adjournment.

Naidu alleged that he was not allowed to speak, while the Chief Minister and Legislative Affairs Minister used their opportunity to find fault with the Opposition.

The Speaker, however, clarified that he had equal respect for all members and that he never intended to hurt any member.

"Even if I speak loudly, it is to regulate the House. I am running the House as per conventions and rules," he said.

However, the TDP chief went on to add that the Speaker imposed restrictions on media over the coverage of Assembly and that entry of visitors are not allowed.

"As a result, we cannot even hold press conferences or accept representations from visitors. There is an emergency atmosphere in the Assembly," he alleged.

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Assembly has not been convened at regular intervals, Naidu said.

Senior TRS MLA T Harish Rao alleged that the Information and Public Relations (I and PR) Department used to supply the footage of the Assembly proceedings which has now been entrusted to a private agency.
There is a "censor" on the live coverage now, he charged.

The Speaker, however, said that private agency itself had supplied the footage from the begining and that uproarious scenes are not shown now.

The MIM floor leader said that he was hurt over the way he was treated couple of days ago which, he said, forced him to enter the well of the House, something never done by him.

He said he is ready to apologize if he is found guilty of anything wrong and unparliamentary.

Leaders of CPI, CPI(M), BJP and Lok Satta also suggested that there is greater need to take the Opposition into confidence. Rosaiah said the government has even asked the Opposition to set the priorities for debate. Naidu, however, alleged that most of the problems arose because of the Chief Minister and Rosaiah who should change their ways.

Maintaining that he sympathised with the Speaker, the Chief Minister said Opposition parties should understand that they cannot insist on speaking whenever they wanted.

He felt that the restrictions imposed on the media and entry of visitors was done due to justified reasons. Reddy suggested that the Speaker can adjourn the House briefly when- ever it goes out of order.

Allaying the apprehensions of the Opposition, the Speaker clarified that he never intended to conduct the House unilaterally. Certain decisions with regard to media were taken only after obtaining recommendations from the Media Advisory Committee of the Assembly, he said.

There is no censor on live coverage of House proceedings as alleged, he said, adding that he had no objection if the Opposition wanted the uproarious scenes also to be shown. Relevant issues can be discussed in the BAC, he added.