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Monday, August 02, 2021

Uproar in West Bengal Assembly over post-poll violence: Amid BJP protests, Dhankhar forced to cut short address

Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar could speak only for 3-4 minutes as BJP MLAs carrying posters and pictures of alleged victims of the post-poll violence came to well to stage protest.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 3, 2021 1:19:00 am
Speaker Biman Banerjee, CM Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar outside West Bengal Assembly Hall. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday cut short his address to the West Bengal Assembly on the opening day of the Budget session amid BJP MLAs’ protests against political violence in the state.

Dhankhar reached the Assembly at 1.55 pm and entered the hall after offering floral tributes at the statue of BR Ambedkar. Three minutes into his speech prepared by the government, the Governor stopped as the BJP legislators started protesting from their seats.

However, he continued reading the speech after speaking to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and Speaker Biman Banerjee. A few seconds later, he stopped again as the Opposition MLAs rushed to the well of the House with posters and placards, and shouted slogans condemning the post-poll violence that it claims is being directed at its supporters by members of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

After the governor left, Leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari said, “There was no mention of post-poll violence in the state, which is why we objected to the Governor’s speech.”

He added, “We won 77 seats. We protested during the speech of the Governor because it has been written by the state government. It doesn’t mention anything about the post-poll violence. We have shown pictures of 41 people killed in the violence while many women have been raped. But there was no mention of that in the speech. We respect the Governor. He also protested against the post-poll violence and we respect his stand. But the speech that he delivered was prepared by the Cabinet of Mamata Banerjee. The Governor had no say in it.”

Though Adhikari claimed the speech did not mention the post-poll violence, the penultimate page of the 14-page speech mentioned that “opportunists” were trying to create disturbances. “They are spreading fake news and fake videos and are trying to divide the society. The government will not accept this and strong action will be initiated against them,” it read.

Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari along with party MLAs during a press conference. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

The speech condemned all types of violence, saying, “As regard the much-talked-about ‘post-poll violence’, all the incidents occurred during the election period when the law and order machinery in the state was under the control, direction and superintendence of the Election Commission of India. After the democratically elected new government took over, immediate action was taken with the sharpest agility and strict impartiality, and normalcy was restored soon.”

Responding to the BJP’s allegations, state Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee said, “The Governor told the Speaker that the speech was tabled was his speech. There is no controversy here. Regarding the BJP’s allegations of post-poll violence, what we have to say we will say during the discussion on the Governor’s address.”

He added, “Those who staged such a noisy protest during Governor’s address lack knowledge about legislative practices and have set new precedence of anarchy. Their agenda from the very beginning was to cause disruption and create chaos.”

With PTI inputs

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