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CM questions her minister in House.

Opposition slams Sheila Dikshit and accuses her of imprudence

THE Opposition on Thursday put Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit in the dock by accusing her of being irresponsible when she questioned one of her cabinet colleagues in the assembly.

During question hour, Dikshit asked a supplementary question to food and civil supplies minister Haroon Yusuf about what his department was doing to resolve complaints regarding issuance of cards to those below the poverty line.

Parliamentary rules classify legislators in an assembly into two groups -- cabinet ministers, who are termed as the government, and the remaining, called private members. By asking a question to a member of her own government, Dikshit broke the usual norm of only private members questioning the government.

Opposition legislators of the BJP were on their feet soon after Dikshit raised the query and began accusing her of imprudence.

" She heads the government.

Instead of assuring the House that she will personally resolve the complaints, she began crossquestioning her own cabinet minister," said leader of the Opposition V. K. Malhotra.

Dikshit should have ideally called the minister to her room, said Malhotra, and took him to task for the widespread irregularities in issuing below poverty line cards.

Dikshit was within her right, though, to have asked a supplementary question as Delhi assembly rules of conduct allow any member to ask a supplementary question.

But parliamentary expert Subhash Kashyap, who was earlier the secretary- general of the Lok Sabha, said it was rather unusual for a head of government to question a cabinet minister.

" I can't recall any other government head doing such a thing. Government heads speak occasionally and that too only to intervene in support of a minister who is replying to a question," said Kashyap.

Dikshit dismissed the Opposition's charge and said she had questioned her cabinet colleagues in the assembly earlier too, and that it was nothing unusual.

The CM had asked the supplementary question in response to a starred question that BJP legislator Kulwant Rana had posed, alleging irregularities in issuing below poverty line cards to the poor.

Rana had alleged that the poor in the Rithala assembly constituency were being given a raw deal as below poverty line cards were being distributed arbitrarily.

Other legislators asked supplementary questions to the minister concerned -- Yusuf --, alleging that officers were not verifying people's credentials before issuing the cards.

Yusuf replied to all the questions but couldn't reply to Dikshit's query as Opposition legislators disrupted proceedings.

The BJP also accused Dikshit of breaching tradition by making an announcement outside the House that her government would reconsider some of its budget proposals.

" It is a serious issue. It is a case of contempt," he said.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 26, 2010
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