The Raman Singh-led BJP government comfortably survived a no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition Congress in the Chhattisgarh Assembly by 10 votes after a record 19-hour-long debate on it.
As many as 48 members voted against the motion while 38 polled in its favour. In the 90-member House, BJP has 49 members, Congress 39, BSP one and an Independent.
The Congress had moved the motion on Wednesday, the second day of the winter session, expressing no confidence in the four-year-old BJP government. The voting took place around 7 am today after the conclusion of the debate on the motion that had begun at noon yesterday.
In his reply on the motion in the Assembly, which lasted for over an hour, Chief Minister Singh termed as “poor” the Opposition’s charges and said the party has raked up the “same old issues” even this time.
As the motion was put to vote by Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal, Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo demanded division, following which the Speaker announced voting in reference to the motion. In his reply, the chief minister said his government has been continuously working for the development of the state.
“Proper development can be witnessed not only in the capital but also in all the 27 districts, including Bijapur, Dantewda and Sukma,” he said. Several initiatives were taken to transform Chhattisgarh into a digital state, he claimed.
Under the Bharat Net Yojana, the Centre recently sanctioned Rs 1,624 crore to Chhattisgarh as a part of which a network of optical fibre will be laid across the state, Singh said.
“The project will ensure internet connectivity in every panchayat, right from Balrampur to Bijapur and Raigarh to Rajnandgaon,” he added.
The chief minister said that under the Bastar Net project, the state government has been laying optical fibre network to the tune of 800 km in Bastar division to enhance internet connectivity.
Moreover, under the SKY (Suchna Kranti Yojna) scheme, a target has been set to distribute 45-50 lakh smartphones to people in the state in the next eight months free of cost and more than 1,500 mobile towers will be set up in different parts of the state to enhance telecommunication connectivity, he added.
In an apparent reference to the Congress over the recent case of alleged circulation of a “sex CD” allegedly involving a state minister, Singh said he was pained to see the use of digital technology in “hatching a political conspiracy”.
“We are encouraging digital kranti (revolution) by distributing smartphones in order to take Chhattisgarh into a digital age. On the other hand, a political conspiracy was openly hatched using the digital technology to destabilise a government. Killing anybody is easy, but it causes life-time pain if someone’s character is assassinated,” he said.
“Do we stoop to such a level in greed of power? I think doing such kind of politics is bad. I am disappointed to see the standard of politics declining to such a level,” the chief minister added.
Singh also listed the achievements under various schemes of his government.
Countering the Opposition’s charges over the Agusta Westland and Panama Papers issues, he said the Agusta matter is in the Supreme Court and they should wait for the verdict to come. “If the Opposition members have some facts on these issues, they should submit it to the investigative agencies,” he added.
“It is the confidence of the people in our government that we came to power for the third consecutive time. They (Congress) have been sitting in the opposition for the last 15 years and they also have to sit there for the next 15 years,” he said.
He also dubbed as “poor” the Congress’ ‘charge-sheet’, which was part of the no-confidence motion and said old issues have just been copy-pasted into it.
Earlier, while speaking in favour of the motion, Singhdeo said the state government has cheated the people by not fulfilling the promises made to them.
The Opposition party had brought 168-points ‘charge-sheet’ in the House as a part of its no-confidence motion moved against the government.
“The condition of the state is miserable. The state government has failed on multiple fronts. The roads lack quality, farmers are reeling under crises, there are no jobs under MNREGA, journalists are being attacked and chit fund companies duped the people to the tune of crores of rupees,” Singhdeo alleged.
“No major agro-based industry was established in the state in the last 14 years, which can ensure a better price to the farmers against their products,” he said.
Hitting out at the government for hiring “experts” under Chief Minister Good Governance Fellowship programme, he sought to know why there was a need to appoint such fellows on hefty salaries when there are administrative officials.
He also attacked the BJP government over the Agusta Westland helicopter deal (2007), Panama Papers issue, among others. “People have lost confidence in the government after the alleged scams were unearthed,” he said.
Singhdeo also took on the ruling BJP over a number of issues related to forest, health and mining.
After the discussion and voting on the no-trust motion, the speaker transacted other business of the House and adjourned the assembly sine die.
The BJP government recently completed the fourth year of its third consecutive term in office in the state, where assembly polls are due by 2018-end.