Haryana lawmakers trade abuse

Chandigarh, Jan 18 (IANS) "Fukra" (freebooter), "mandhbudhi" (dimwit) and "bhrasht" (corrupt) may not figure in the vocabulary of parliamentarians, but legislators in Haryana have been bandying the words in a free-for-all, addressing one another in words that in the normal course are used as abuse.

The latest showdown was between Haryana assembly Speaker Kuldeep Sharma and Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) president and Hisar MP Kuldip Bishnoi.

The speaker, who on Sunday announced his decision to uphold the "merger" of a group of five defector HJC legislators with the Congress, termed Bishnoi a "fukra", who was also "bhrashth" (corrupt).

"He lacks proper upbringing," Sharma said about Bishnoi, son of former Haryana chief minister and political strongman Bhajan Lal.

Sharma went on to say that Bishnoi was himself a "defector" (Bishnoi had quit the Congress party in 2007) and the "son of a defector".

"He is getting a taste of his own medicine," Sharma added, referring to Bishnoi's father Bhajan Lal being well known for engineering defections in the 1980s to form the government.

Bhajan Lal's name became synonymous with the 'Aya Ram-Gaya Ram' syndrome, or the revolving door through which politicians walked in and out of parties. He engineered several defections in his time.

Bishnoi hit back within a couple of hours, saying that Sharma was a "mandhbudhi".

Asked to comment on the speaker's remarks on him, Bishnoi said: "Such remarks do not deserve a response. He is insulting the institution of speaker by saying all this."

The five legislators, elected on the HJC ticket in the Oct 2009 elections, had switched loyalty to the Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, leaving Bishnoi, HJC president, the lone legislator from the party in the assembly at that time.

(Bishnoi has since entered parliament, while his wife is a party legislator.)

While Bishnoi moved a petition with the assembly speaker seeking the disqualification of the five under the Anti-Defection Act, the defectors claimed that they had "merged" their group with the Congress.

Two of them were immediately made cabinet ministers and two became chief parliamentary secretaries.

Sharma's decision on the defector HJC legislators came after the Supreme Court gave time-bound directions to decide the matter.

Bishnoi has already announced that he will move court against the speaker's decision on the defectors.

The speaker has even questioned the legitimacy of Bishnoi's HJC.

"The original (HJC) group merged with the Congress. The status of the party can be known from the Election Commission," Sharma said.

Bishnoi hit back: "I got elected (as MP) on the party (HJC) ticket. So was my wife (legislator Renuka Bishnoi). It is shocking that Sharma decided that the HJC had merged with the Congress three years ago."

Bishnoi's counsel and former MP, Satyapal Jain, said: "The speaker's decision is a rape of law. It is a perverse and a mala fide decision and a joke on the constitution and parliamentary democracy."

The opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) too chipped in. Ajay Singh Chautala, legislator and party member, who has since been convicted and arrested in a corruption case along with his father and party president, said: "Sharma had only attempted to save the corrupt government of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, a government of turncoats."

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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