Gujarat Cong MLAs pay tribute to COVID-19 victims, then walkout from Assembly
They returned within 10 minutes to take part in the election for the post of Deputy Speaker.
Congress MLAs staged a walkout from the Assembly as a mark of protest after Speaker Nimaben Acharya on Monday declined to accept the opposition party's request that the House should pay homage to people who have died due to coronavirus in the state.
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani of the Congress said his party MLAs staged the walkout also because the BJP government did not accept their demand for paying a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of COVID-19 victims.
Though the Speaker and the ruling BJP opposed the Congress's proposal, the opposition MLAs, before leaving the House briefly, stood up from their seats and observed a minute's silence in memory of people who have died from coronavirus even as governing party members refused to join in.
''As many as 3 lakh persons have died due to COVID-19 in Gujarat. The government should pay Rs 4 lakh as compensation to the kin of each of these victims. All members of this House should also offer condolences to them,'' Dhanani said.
However, Acharya refused to accept the proposal, saying there was no meaning in offering condolences now as tributes to coronavirus victims were paid in the recent past by the House.
Gujarat Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Trivedi also opposed the Congress's proposal, saying it was not discussed and agreed during the meeting of business advisory committee, which has members from both BJP and the Congress.
Also, ''COVID-19 hasn't gone yet'', he said.
Citing the official COVID-19 death toll which is over 10,000 (till September 26), Health Minister Rushikesh Patel refuted Dhanani's claims that over 3 lakh people have died during the pandemic in Gujarat.
Despite Acharya's repeated calls to maintain decorum, around 60 Congress MLAs stood up and observed a minute's silence for coronavirus victims even as BJP members remained seated.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)