Opposition For Patil’s Address To Assembly

IMPHAL, Mar 10:  Drawing the attention of the Chief Minister, who is also the leader of the House, Opposition leaders have put forward the proposal that the President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil addresses the ongoing Budget session of the State Assembly so as to give the members the opportunity to share ideas and interact with her.

Soon after the end of the question hour session in the morning sitting of the Assembly, which lasted for just around 20 minutes, the leader of the House and Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh sought the permission of the House to wrap up the business of the day in view of the scheduled visit of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Imphal.

Noting that the discussion on the address of the Governor delivered on the opening day of the Budget session is to go on for two days till today, the Chief Minister proposed that the agenda to be discussed today may be clubbed together with the business of March 11 since the President is to arrive at Imphal today.

Accepting the proposal of the Chief Minister, senior Opposition MLA and leader of MPP Legislature Party O Joy said that members of the House should make the most of the visit of the President and make arrangement for her to address the ongoing session of the House.

Observing that the visit of President of India to a border State like Manipur is a rare occasion, Joy demanded to know whether the program has been arranged by the State Government or not.

In case, some time could be spared, the prevailing political conflict situation should be reviewed and arrangements made for the President, who is also the Constitutional head of the country, to address the House tomorrow.

Opposition leader Radhabinod Koijam also described the visit of President of India to Manipur as a rare occasion and said that a warm welcome should be accorded to the President during her two-day long visit.

It would also be the wishes of the people for giving an opportunity to the House members to meet the President. This would make Manipur proud of being a part of India, Radhabinod said.

He further observed that since President Pratibha Devisingh is also a woman, it would be appreciable if she could give her comments on the agitation of Irom Chanu Sharmila over the demand for repealing Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

It is desirable to know the stand of the Government of India over the issue, the Opposition leader said, while drawing the attention of the Chief Minister for making necessary arrangements to ensure that the President address the House.

In his response, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh explained that the visit of the President to Manipur is not at the invitation of the State Government. While at Imphal, the President would be laying the foundation stones of the Information Technology Park and SWAN (State-wide Area Network) Project at Mantripukhri tomorrow morning.

The visit program of the President has preponed from what had been fixed tentatively earlier and the program has not been finalized by the State Government. Many people have been coming with the request for meeting the President during her stay. But as all the programs have been already been finalized at Rashtrapati Bhavan. So beside the few people that the Rashtrapati Bhavan has granted permission for meeting with the President, the State Government could do nothing, the Chief Minister said.

Nonetheless, the Chief Minister assured that he would consult with the President to see whether she can address the House or not.

Before announcing suspension of the Assembly session for the day, Speaker I Hemochandra informed the House that the discussion on Governor’s address has been included in the agenda for tomorrow and he would also see whether it would be possible for the President to address the House. In case of approval, the same would be conveyed to all the members.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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