The West Bengal Assembly on Tuesday witnessed pandemonium as members of the Left Front and the ruling Trinamool Congress exchanged blows, leaving many injured; in fact, two of them including a woman had to be hospitalised.
Protesting the violence, the Left and the Congress walked out. While their leaders called on Governor M.K. Narayanan and demanded his intervention, senior Trinamool leaders met their party chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was not present during the incidents.
The fracas started after Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay suspended three Left MLAs for disrupting the proceedings. The Left Front members rose in protest and got embroiled in an altercation with Trinamool MLAs, and soon the situation turned ugly with the legislators getting into fisticuffs.
Debolina Hembram of the Left Front and the Trinamool’s Mamuda Begum pulled at each other’s hair and started raining blows. Gouranga Chatterjee of the Left Front, who tried to intervene, clashed with other Trinamool members. Then, Ms. Hembram and Mr. Chatterjee were allegedly dragged by the Trinamool members towards the Treasury benches and beaten up.
Abuses flew thick and fast and the chaos continued for over 10 minutes; even the Ministers and the Deputy Speaker lost their cool.
Nazmul Haque, Sushanta Besra and Sk Amhed Hossain of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) were suspended for the remaining period of the winter session for disrupting the proceedings, damaging property and making objectionable remarks against the Speaker. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee had moved the suspension motion demanding exemplary punishment to the Left Front legislators.
Earlier during the day, the members of the Opposition descended on the well and shouted slogans against the Speaker for disallowing an adjournment motion demanding a discussion on proliferation of chit funds.
Even as the protests were on, a Left Front member tried to snatch the Speaker’s microphone. This led to an altercation between the Opposition and Treasury benches.
Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra demanded that the suspended members be heard by the Speaker before passing an order as per the rules of natural justice. The Speaker, however, did not oblige him. Members of the Left Front walked out in protest and held a demonstration outside the main gate of the Assembly.
On action against those responsible for the violence, Dr. Mishra said: “Everything has happened before the Speaker. We are waiting to see what steps he takes against those responsible for the violence.”
The Congress legislators too walked out in protest against the violence. Both the Congress and the Let Front announced that they would take a final call on participating in the proceedings depending on the steps taken by the Speaker against the perpetrators. They described the day as a “scar on parliamentary democracy” and “unprecedented development” in West Bengal’s history.
The ruling party alleged that it was the Left Front members who came to the Treasury benches and tried to attack its MLAs.