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Home / West-bengal / Bengal: Ruckus over governor's speech ends with Mamata visiting Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan

Didi blames 'unruly' BJP legislators for disruptions

Bengal: Ruckus over governor's speech ends with Mamata visiting Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan

BJP legislators storm Well of House with placards, Trinamul women MLAs create blockade; ultimately only first and last line of government's statement is read
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee with Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at Raj Bhavan in Calcutta in Monday.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee with Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at Raj Bhavan in Calcutta in Monday.
Telegraph picture

Arnab Ganguly   |   Calcutta   |   Published 07.03.22, 05:38 PM

Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar managed to read only the first and the last line of his speech, prepared by the state government, on the inaugural day of the Budget session of the Assembly on Monday as BJP MLAs created a ruckus inside the House in what was a replay of events eight months ago when he had to end his speech midway on the first day of the budget session on July 2, 2021 for exactly the same reason. 

For an hour on Monday, the Governor was in a Catch-22 situation. The Opposition would not let him read the speech and Trinamul’s women legislators who made a circle within the little space around him would not let him go.

“What happened in the Assembly was unprecedented. I have never seen this happen. Our legislators requested the Governor to complete his speech. This was unprecedented,” said Mamata before heading for Raj Bhavan. “The unruly behaviour of the BJP shows they have no shame even after losing. Could not even win in their own ward, now doing drama. This chaos was planned by the BJP,” she said.

Mamata was referring to the BJP candidate losing to the Trinamul nominee from the Contai Municipality ward 35, the family home of Bengal’s leader of Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari.

“The Governor wanted to leave without reading the speech, with folded hands we requested him. BJP does not follow democracy. We respect even the President. The BJP tried to scuttle the session by not allowing the Governor to read his speech. That he read the last, I thank him,” Mamata said. 

Last July, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had to end his speech midway on the first day of the budget session on July 2, 2021, as unruly BJP legislators disrupted the proceedings. Eight months later, on Monday, Dhankhar could manage to read only the first and the last line of his speech, prepared by the state government, as BJP MLAs created a ruckus inside the house.

For an hour the Governor was in a catch-22 situation. The Opposition would not let him read the speech and Trinamul’s women legislators who made a circle within the little space around him would not let him go.

“What happened in the Assembly was unprecedented. I have never seen this happen. Our legislators requested the Governor to complete his speech. This was unprecedented,” said Mamata before heading for Raj Bhawan. “The unruly behaviour of the BJP shows they have no shame even after losing. Could not even win in their own ward, now doing drama. This chaos was planned by the BJP.”

Mamata was referring to the BJP candidate’s losing to the Trinamul nominee from the Contai Municipality ward 35, the family home of Bengal’s leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari.

“The Governor wanted to leave without reading the speech, with folded hands we requested him. BJP does not follow democracy. We respect even the President. The BJP tried to scuttle the session by not allowing the Governor to read his speech. That he read the last, I thank him,” Mamata said.   

The drama inside the floor of the House was on for over an hour. Sharp at 2.00pm, the Governor accompanied by Speaker Biman Banerjee and chief minister Mamata Banerjee walked on the green carpet and took his place near the well of the House. The BJP legislators, around 70 after the defections, had turned up in full strength and made a valiant attempt at outshouting the treasury benches, whose strength is over 200.

The BJP legislators stormed to the well of the House with placards and slogans against the tactics of intimidation and rampant rigging in the recently held polls to 113 urban local bodies, including the Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

The BJP legislators stuck to their plan: not to let the Governor read a speech prepared by the state government, which is the norm.

For over an hour, the shouting match continued. Dhankhar spoke with Adhikari, requesting him to read the speech, but the BJP MLAs would not budge. He spoke separately with Speaker Biman Banerjee and the minister for parliamentary affairs Partha Chatterjee, before making another futile attempt to read the speech.

As the impasse continued and the governor tried to leave women MLAs from the treasury benches stood blocking his way. The Marshall of the Assembly was instructed to lock the doors leading out of the House.

In the cacophony, after some pleading by Mamata, Dhankhar read the first and last lines of the speech, thus, officially making it “read.”

What the BJP legislators did manage to achieve was bring about a temporary truce between the chief minister and the occupant of Raj Bhawan, as Mamata went to “thank” Dhankhar at his official residence, an audience that the governor had been pleading with the chief minister over the last few months.

At 3.08 pm, after waiting for more than an hour inside the hallowed precincts of the 91-year-old building, witness to the changes in Bengal’s politics over these nine decades, governor Dhankhar stepped into his BMW to leave for Raj Bhawan.

A little later Mamata followed suit, for an invitation that she has been avoiding despite repeated pleas, most of them on public forum, over the past several weeks.

In the long history of the Bengal Assembly many governors have faced the wrath of the legislators from both the treasury and opposition benches.

During the Left rule, Bhairab Dutt Pandey, governor of Bengal from 1981-1983, had to stop his speech and make an exit through the door behind the Speaker’s chair.

The Left and the Congress, when heading the Opposition benches between 2011 and 2021 had stopped the practice of disrupting Governor’s speeches. Now with the BJP, with the highest number of Opposition MLAs for a single party, since the Congress in the late 90s, the politics of disruption once again takes centrestrage.  

The drama inside the floor of the House was on for over an hour. Exactly at 2.00pm, the Governor, accompanied by Speaker Biman Banerjee and chief minister Mamata Banerjee, walked on the green carpet and took his place near the Well of the House.  BJP legislators, around 70 after  defections, had turned up in full strength and made a valiant attempt at outshouting the treasury benches, whose strength is over 200.

BJP legislators stormed  the Well of the House with placards and slogans against the "tactics of intimidation and rampant rigging" in the recently held polls to 113 urban local bodies, including the Calcutta Municipal Corporation. The legislators stuck to their plan: not to let the Governor read a speech prepared by the state government, which is the norm.

For over an hour, the shouting match continued. Dhankhar spoke with Adhikari, requesting him to read the speech, but  BJP MLAs would not budge. He spoke separately with Speaker Biman Banerjee and minister for parliamentary affairs Partha Chatterjee before making another futile attempt to read the speech.

As the impasse continued and the governor tried to leave, women MLAs from the treasury benches stood and blocked his way. The marshall of the Assembly was instructed to lock the doors leading out of the House.

In the cacophony, after some pleading by Mamata, Dhankhar read the first and last lines of the speech, thus, officially making it “read.”

What  BJP legislators did manage to achieve was bring about a temporary truce between the chief minister and the occupant of Raj Bhavan, as Mamata went to “thank” Dhankhar at his official residence, an audience that the governor had been pleading for with  the chief minister over the last few months.

At 3.08 pm, after waiting for more than an hour inside the hallowed precincts of the 91-year-old building that has been witness to the changes in Bengal’s politics over these nine decades, governor Dhankhar stepped into his BMW to leave for Raj Bhavan.

A little later Mamata followed suit to honour an invitation that she has been avoiding despite repeated pleas, most of them on public forums, over the past several weeks.

In the long history of the Bengal Assembly many governors have faced the wrath of  legislators from both the treasury and Opposition benches. During the Left rule, Bhairab Dutt Pandey, governor of Bengal from 1981-1983, had to stop his speech and exit through the door behind the Speaker’s chair.

The Left and the Congress, when heading the Opposition benches between 2011 and 2021, had stopped the practice of disrupting Governor’s speeches. Now with the BJP, with the highest number of Opposition MLAs for a single party since the Congress in the late 90s, the politics of disruption has taken centrestrage once again.  



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