Parliament House and the Delhi Vidhan Sabha may be 10 kilometres apart but the scenes that played out in both on Thursday were eerily similar.
If Telangana was the tipping point for the unprecedented scenes that played out in Parliament Thursday morning, the afternoon saw the start of the Delhi Assembly session, and with it broken microphones, bangles, lipsticks and matchsticks being flung around, resulting in very little work, and four adjournments in the day.
In an attempt to put the Aam Aadmi Party government on the defensive before it could table any of its controversial bills, BJP and Congress MLAs and the lone independent member came together to display their ire against Law Minister Somnath Bharti.
The commotion and frequent adjournments caused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to threaten that he would resign if his government was not allowed to introduce the Janlokpal Bill.
BJP and Congress MLAs, who until some months back were opposing each other at most steps, jointly shouted slogans against Bharti, calling him the “owner of pornographic sites”.
To the astonishment of most members, Speaker M S Dhir initially left the Assembly without announcing an adjournment. On his return, BJP MLAs stormed the well of the house, demanding the resignation of the law minister.
Even as leader of the opposition Harsh Vardhan asked the speaker to accept a motion to allow discussion on Bharti, he was constantly reminded of his lack of experience by Congress and BJP MLAs. The protests against the speaker only increased when he announced that the motion had been forwarded to the minister for his comments.
Congress MLA Jai Kishan had come armed with ginger, a blade and matchsticks. He went on to place the chunk of ginger on Kejriwal’s table. BJP MLA R P Singh brought lip gloss and bangles which he put in front of Bharti. Also armed with glue, paper and sketches he made a few leaflets, writing “Porn minister” on it and pasted them in front of Bharti’s desk. BJP MLA Naresh Gaur called Bharti “Ashleel mantri” or obscene minister.
The third time the Assembly was adjourned, Congress MLA Asif Mohammad Khan tore papers on the speaker’s table. Several BJP leaders took potshots at the AAP government. BJP’s Anil Jha was heard telling Kejriwal, “Samarthan karne wale to pradarshan kar rahe hain (Those supporting you are the ones protesting),” referring to the Congress.
Soon, the speaker’s mike gave way, subject as it was to the violent attentions of BJP MLAs Kulwant Rana and Neel Daman Khatri. JD(U) MLA Shoaib Iqbal attempted to rescue the situation from atop the speaker’s podium and on behalf of the speaker, approved the motion to call attention demanding a discussion on Bharti.
By the end, every MLA who was not an AAP member passed a motion to suspend the speaker’s power to throw MLAs out continued…