Bhopal: The opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday opposed the introduction of a digitalised system in the Assembly during the ongoing Budget Session with all legislators being provided iPads, citing various reasons.
Senior Congress leaders including the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit chief Kamal Nath and Leader of Opposition Govind Singh have returned their iPads to the Speaker Girish Gautam.
This led to an exchange of barbs between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress during the session.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said the decision to distribute iPads to MLAs was against the tradition of Madhya Pradesh Assembly, adding he would not require an iPad, while stating that “these iPads are assembled in China”.
Govind Singh has accused the ruling BJP of using a ‘China-made’ iPad.
“Several Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in Galwan Valley. These iPads given to MLAs are China-made… and therefore, we are opposing it,” Singh said, accusing the BJP of being double-standard in the name of nationalism.
The Congress leader also said the use of a China-assembled iPad may pave the way for ‘data stealing’.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who is also the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, defended the government’s decision.
“These iPads are not China-made, and assembling means that products are assembled in many places,” he said.
In response, LoP Govind Singh demanded open voting in the Assembly, claiming that many BJP leaders would also return these iPads.
On March 1, the BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government tabled its first paperless annual budget for 2023-2024, and each MLA was also provided an iPad.
The process of introducing digital systems in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly started nearly one and a half years ago, and for this purpose, a team led by Speaker Girish Gautam visited nearly six states where digital systems were already introduced.
After taking cues from different states, the Speaker had sent a recommendation to the Madhya Pradesh government for allocation of the budget to purchase iPads.