Madhya Pradesh Assembly Session Cancelled. Covid Blamed, But...
The Vidhan Sabha was scheduled to be held from December 28 but it has been called off.
The Shivraj Singh government in Madhya Pradesh had called off the winter session of the assembly citing coronavirus, weeks after conducting a successful campaign for by-elections. The Vidhan Sabha was scheduled to be held from December 28 and the decision to call it off was taken at the all party meeting. The reason cited was a sudden explosion in Covid cases in the MLA rest house campus.
It was said that two days before the session, 34 Vidhan Sabha employees had tested positive. has found that most of the alleged patients were not employees of the Vidhan Sabha. Moreover, many of them said they tested negative for the virus before the session was to begin.
Munne Sheik, 50, is one of the 34 alleged Vidhan Sabha employees who was shown as Covid-positive. A Class IV employee of the Capital Projects administration -- a firm in charge of maintaining the MLA rest house complex - he was tested first on December 24.
"I did not have any symptom but on December 24 all of a sudden our tests were done and I was told on phone that I had tested positive. I took all the medicines that I was told to take. But on December 26, they did a second test and the report came negative," he told.
Another employee of the CPA, 54-year-old Kali Charan, was shown positive on December 24. His sample taken on December 26 tested negative.
"I never had Corona at the first place. All of a sudden on December 24 I was told I'm positive but thankfully on December 26 my test came negative," said Kali Charan.
NDTV contacted most of these 34 people who were shown positive on December 24 and found that most of them had tested negative on December 26.
The decision to call off the Vidhan Sabha session was taken at an all-party meeting convened by the Pro-Tem speaker on December 27. Additional chief secretary of health, MP government, who was present at the meeting, gave a presentation on Corona, stressing on why the session should not be held.
NDTV has accessed minutes of the meeting, in which the Additional Chief Secretary said 67 people had tested positive of the 281 tests conducted at the MLA rest house campus.
The Congress it was a manouevre by the ruling BJP to avoid holding the session.
"Firstly they (the alleged Covid patients) were not employees of the Vidhan Sabha. They were also not positive. This fraud was committed by pressurizing officials. This is a scam. We are working towards moving a privilege motion," said senior Congress leader and former law minister PC Sharma.
The BJP, he said, "doesn't want to face questions". Also, "because of the internal feud in the BJP, they are not able to select the candidate for Speaker. That's why they do not want to conduct the regular business of the house," Mr Sharma added.
Asked about the issue, state home minister Narottam Mishra, who also handles the parliamentary affairs portfolio, said, "It is not true that the session was called off just because of these people. The decision was taken at an all-party meeting."
"It was not a conspiracy, people working in the Vidhan Sabha are still battling with the virus," said Rameshwar Sharma, Pro-Tem Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha.
Pointing out that the decision was taken at an all-party meeting, Mr Sharma, in a jab at the Congress, said, "Those who are raising this question want to undermine the leadership of their party. So I would request them not to use the Vidhan Sabha as a tool to achieve their goals".