The Telegraph
Thursday , December 13 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Truce meet falls through

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 for yesterday’s Assembly ruckus apologise.

Leader of the Opposition 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,” Chatterjee said at a news conference after the meeting.

Mishra scoffed at the idea. “Would the marshal and his forces have retained their jobs if they had they intervened to protect Opposition MLAs from being beaten up by those from 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 CPM MLas, Mishra said the Left had decided to attend the meeting because there was “hope” of “at least a promise of action”.

“The three MLAs were not allowed to say anything before the suspension,” the CPM politburo member said.

Speaker Banerjee said the suspensions could not be withdrawn because of the “inflexible temperament” of the leader of the Opposition.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 on the Assembly stairs and shouted slogans against the government.

They also conducted mock legislature sessions, with Abdur Razzaq Mollah mimicking chief minister Mamata Banerjee, minister Chatterjee and the Speaker without naming them.

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.