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Truce meet fails

Calcutta, Dec. 12: The Left Front legislators today walked out of an all-party truce meeting within 10 minutes after the Speaker insisted that the three CPM MLAs suspended yesterday for the Assembly ruckus apologise.

Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra, who had earlier in the day requested Speaker Biman Banerjee to hold the meeting to end the Assembly impasse, told reporters that the Speaker insisted that the three MLAs — Susanta Besra, Nazmul Haque and Amjad Hossain — would have to apologise before he considered revoking their suspension.

Speaker Banerjee has ordered a probe into the scuffle.

“Why did the security personnel not do their job? This is being investigated. As a matter of convention, the Speaker leaves standing instructions with the marshal to intervene and avert such situations,” minister Partha Chatterjee said at a news conference after the meeting.

Mishra scoffed at the idea. “Would the marshal and his forces have retained their jobs had they intervened to protect Opposition MLAs from being beaten up by those of the ruling party?” he asked.

Earlier, Mishra led a walkout from the Assembly after the Speaker turned down the demand for action against Trinamul MLAs who were involved in yesterday’s brawl.

Ruling out the possibility of an apology by the three MLAs, Mishra said: “They were not allowed to say anything before their suspension.”

Speaker Banerjee said the suspensions could not be withdrawn because of the “inflexible temperament” of the leader of the Opposition.

For most of the day, the Left MLAs sat outside the Assembly and shouted slogans against the government.

Congress MLAs entered the House wearing helmets, citing “a grave feeling of insecurity”. They, too, walked out after the Speaker refused to allow an adjournment motion brought by them against the government for “exorbitant” power tariffs.