By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 28 Aug: The Vidhan Sabha Session in Uttarakhand has been adjourned sine die. The Monsoon Session was one of the few occasions in Uttarakhand that an assembly session lasted 6 days or more. This time, the session started on Monday and concluded on Saturday, a day usually considered to be an off day for an assembly sitting. This session was unique for some reasons. It was for the first time in four and half years that the House had a new Leader of the House, new Leader of the Opposition and a new Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. This time, the members appeared serious towards participating in the session rather than creating ruckus and distrupting the sitting. Hence, the six days session passed off rather peacefully for a change.
Many bills including some of the amendment bills regarding some government and some private universities were passed during the session in addition to the all important Supplementary Demands bill (Supplementary Budget). Another important bill that was passed related to amendments in the GST rules. Besides this, CAG report for the Financial Year 2019-20 was also tabled in the House.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami being the Leader of the House for the first time in his political career appeared to be confident and many important announcements were made by him on the floor of the House during the session. Some of the BJP leaders like Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni were also praised by the Opposition leaders like Harish Dhami and Preetam Singh Panwar. It also goes to the credit of Speaker Prem Chand Aggarwal that on several occasions, most of the starred questions were physically responded to by the ministers concerned and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Banshidhar Bhagat.
Of course, the Corona did affect the sitting arrangements for the members and the guests as well as the media during the session. Due to Covid SOPs and protocol, only 40 out of 70 members were made to sit in the main Assembly Hall while the rest were seated elsewhere for participation. Even the bureaucrats had to sit in a different room to help the ministers respond to questions and in matters regarding the bills presented and approved in the House.
Now that the Monsoon Session is over, it appears that only one more session could actually be held of the present Assembly before the elections and hence the mood in the House was somewhat sombre this time.