By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 18 Apr: Congress Party’s Leader of the Opposition Yashpal Arya formally took charge at the Vidhan Sabha building, here, today.
State Congress in-charge Devendra Yadav, State Party President Karan Mahra, former Chief Minister Harish Rawat along with party MLAs and senior leaders were present on this occasion.
Providing this information, Rajeev Mehrishi, media in-charge of the State Congress, said that the Leader of the Opposition, Yashpal Arya, duly assumed charge today. Deputy Leader of the Opposition Bhuvan Kapdi, MLAs Mamta Rakesh, Furqan Ahmed, Adesh Chauhan, Manoj Tiwari, Gopal Rana, Sumit Hridayesh, Anupama Rawat, Virendra Kumar Jati and Ravi Bahadur were also present.
Tilak Raj Behad and Rajendra Singh Bhandari could not attend the taking over programme due to ill health, while there was a road accident in the area of former state president, Pritam Singh, which he had to attend to, while Vikram Singh Negi was at a family function. Lohaghat MLA Khushal Singh Adhikari expressed his inability to be present due to family circumstances through a letter.
After assuming office, Yashpal Arya assured the party leadership that he would live up to their expectations and raise issues of public interest in the House with the help of all respected MLAs of the party. He would fight every battle in the public interest.
Yesterday, the newly appointed State President of Uttarakhand Congress Committee, Karan Mahra, had also assumed charge.
Arya took charge, today, after performing a Hawan and Puja in his new office. After taking over as the Leader of the Opposition, Yashpal Arya said that the government would not be allowed to escape from the questions of the people. The party would fight on public issues inside the Assembly and even on the streets. He also expressed his anger at the shorter sessions of the Assembly since the BJP had come to the power in 2017. He said that everything is being done to evade questions from the Opposition and the people. The pretext that the BJP is using is that shorter sessions of the Assembly are due to lack of business on agenda.
In the response to a question by the media on why only nine MLAs were present on the occasion of his taking charge, he said the party and the MLAs were united. Some members did not attend due to busy schedules and prior commitments. He said that he would leave no stone unturned to convince Harish Dhami to stay in the Congress. The Congress delegation would call on the Governor and submit a memorandum regarding the worsening law and order situation in the state.
Arya, former state president of the Congress, has been given the responsibility of Leader of Opposition for the first time. It may be recalled that just before the elections in 2017, the then Cabinet Minister Yashpal Arya had deserted the Congress and joined the BJP, where also he was a cabinet minister for almost five years, before he switched back to the Congress. There is some resentment in the party over why someone who had recently rejoined the party has been given such an important position, ignoring those who never deserted the party.
Despite all the claims of unity in the party, 11 out of 19 MLAs remained absent on this occasion, giving rise to fresh speculation that dissidence still continues in the party. Among those absent were senior MLAs Pritam Singh, Mamta Rakesh, Rajendra Bhandari, Vikram Singh Negi, Furqan Ahmed, Mayukh Mehar, Madan Singh Bisht, Khushal Singh Adhikari, Tilak Raj Behar, Gopal Singh Rana and Harish Dhami.
Arya also claimed that Bhagwanpur MLA Mamta Rakesh was busy in her constituency due to the recent violence in Roorkee, but no one had an answer as to why other MLAs also could not attend such an important event.