| A scene of the first Assembly session in Tripura on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Agartala, March 15: The opening session of the 11th Tripura Legislative Assembly commenced here today with the usual ruckus involving the treasury bench andthe Opposition, marring the proceedings.
PCC president Sudip Roy Barman declared that the Congress would boycott the entire session to protest largescale post-poll violence on party workers across the state by CPM cadres.
The day’s session began at 11am as usual with pro tem Speaker Niranjan Debbarma in chair and with CPM chief whip in the Assembly, Samir Deb Sakar, moving the motion for the Speaker’s election. As decided by the CPM leadership, former Speaker Ramendra Debnath’s name was proposed as the new Speaker by Deb Sarkar and was seconded by chief minister Manik Sarkar.
Ramendra Debnath was elected without any contest and was conducted to the Speaker’s chair by the chief minister and Congress leader and PCC president Sudip Roy Barman, followed by the Speaker’s speech and a 15-minute adjournment.
Governor D.Y. Patil started reading out his speech when the House reassembled at noon. In his speech, cleared by the state cabinet, the governor spoke on the crisis faced by “global capitalism” and an even growth rate being achieved by socialist countries like China and Vietnam. He described the high voter turnout in the Assembly polls at 93.5 per cent as “the highest ever in the country”. The performance of the Left Front government was also effusively appreciated.
However, trouble started as the governor concluded his speech and the minister for parliamentary affairs Tapan Chakraborty ritually offered his thanks, as Roy Barman stood up and protested the continuing post-poll violence in the state.
This led to protracted heated exchanges with the treasury bench, with CPM chief whip Samir Deb Sarkar charging the Congress with instigating the attacks.
The Speaker asked the chief minister, as leader of the House, to make a statement on the issue. Sarkar condemned the attacks but held a section of the media responsible for creating confusion over the two weeks between February 14 and February 28.
However, Roy Barman continued his tirade and finally declared that the Congress will boycott the rest of the session and walked out, leaving nine other Congress MLAs, including former leader of the Opposition Ratanlal Nath, baffled. His confused colleagues took time to follow suit. Later, it emerged clearly that Roy Barman had not consulted any of his colleagues before issuing the boycott call.