Congress and CPI(M) MLAs walked out of the Assembly on Tuesday after minister Tapas Roy dissed the Opposition legislators, who were protesting over the absence of ministers in the House — they pointed out that only two ministers were present in the House then.
As proceedings of the House began for the second half at 1.15 pm, around 40 CPI(M) and Congress MLAs raised a storm, asking why no minister was present in the House.
Roy, who is Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, entered the House speaking on his mobile phone amid the furore.
As the protesting MLAs asked him the reason behind his delay in coming to the House, a feisty Roy said, “What is the fuss all about?”. As Congress Chief Whip Manoj Chakraborty asked Roy to “shut the mobile and sit quickly”, an agitated Roy walked towards him and entered into a heated argument.
Following this, the Congress and CPI(M) MLAs demanded the minister’s apology. Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay said, “What has happened is not appropriate.”
As Roy refused to apologise, the CPI(M) and Congress MLAs staged the walkout. However, BJP MLA Manoj Tigga, who was present in the House, did not join the other opposition parties in the walkout.
CPI(M) Legislature Party Leader Sujan Chakraborty said the Opposition felt insulted over the conduct of the minister. “This is nothing but hooliganism. This behaviour is unacceptable,” he said. Congress leader Asit Mitra said the “aggressive way” in which Roy charged towards the Opposition MLAs showed the “autocratic nature” of the Mamata Banerjee government.
After half an hour, Speaker summoned both Manoj Chakraborty and Tapas Roy and other senior leaders of the House. The meeting lasted for another half an hour. Later, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee returned to the House and said, “This incident is unwanted, and every member should restrain themselves from such behaviour.”
Soon, the Opposition MLAs rejoined the House to take part in the discussion over the Governor’s address.
Later, Chatterjee told reporters that he was happy with the Opposition responding to the request of joining the debate. “Assembly is the place for debate, for protest but that should be in a controlled manner. The Opposition was prepared to take part in the debate and then there were some emotional outbursts as we all are human beings and they decided to walk out. I am happy that the situation ended on a positive note,” he said.
Taking part in the debate, Congress’s Mitra slammed the government’s claims of law and order improvement in the state. Later, a comment made by him was expunged from the House records.
CPI(M)’s Ashok Bhattacharya said in his address that both the TMC government in the state and that of the BJP at the Centre are flouting constitutional norms and acting in an “arrogant manner”.
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