Flare-up follows Opposition demand for motion on chit funds issue

Video: Chit Fund Scheme: Left, TMC MLAs clash in WB Assembly

There was bedlam at the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Tuesday after the ruling Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) led Opposition MLAs exchanged blows inside the House. At least two MLAs were hospitalised and several others sustain injuries.

The fisticuffs followed after Speaker of the Assembly Biman Bandyopadhyay suspended three MLAs of the CPI(M)-led Left Front for disrupting proceedings of the House (under rule 347 of the West Bengal Assembly). The MLAs along with other Opposition members were demanding an adjournment motion against the State Government’s failure to curb the rising proliferation of chit funds.

Following the suspension, some of the Left Front MLAs got embroiled in a heated exchange of words with their Trinamool counterparts. According to eye-witness accounts, arguments broke out between two lady MLAs that ended up into a free-for-all when some of the male members of the House tried to intervene.

Chaos

Earlier, the third day of the winter session of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly started on a stormy note with Left Front MLAs demanding an adjournment over the State Government’s failure to control the proliferation of chit funds.

As the Speaker disallowed the motion there was chaos as Opposition members moved into the well shouting slogans. This resulted in an altercation between the Treasury and the Opposition. While the protests were on, one of the Left Front members tried to snatch away the microphone of the Speaker.

Assembly proceedings were initially suspended and resumed after lunch.

State’s Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee moved a suspension motion in the House demanding exemplary punishment against the Left Front legislators who had created a ruckus.

Accordingly, Nazmul Haque, Sushanta Besra and Ahmed Hossain – all three legislators the CPI (M) — were suspended for disrupting proceedings (of the House), damaging property and making objectionable comments against the Speaker. This led to the pandemonium followed by a fight.

Walkout

The Left and the Congress walked out of the House in protest of the violence as described the day as a “scar on Parliamentary democracy” and an “unprecedented development” in the history of Bengal.

Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra demanded that the suspended members be heard by the Speaker before he passed an order. The Speaker, however, did not allow it.

Members of the Left Front walked out in protest against the Speaker’s decision and held a sit-in demonstration outside the main gate of the House.

Congress legislators too walked out in protest against the violence inside the House. Both the Congress and Left Front announced that they will take a final call on participating in the proceedings of the House depending on what steps are taken by the Speaker in punishing those accused of the violence.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 11, 2012)
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