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Bengal: BJP ruckus in Assembly during Governor Ananda Bose’s maiden speech

Opposition MLAs walk out to protest against address which Suvendu Adhikari later described as 'govt lies on record'
Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose leaves Bengal Assembly after delivering his inaugural address for the budget session amid protests from BJP MLAs
Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose leaves Bengal Assembly after delivering his inaugural address for the budget session amid protests from BJP MLAs
The Telegraph picture

Sougata Mukhopadhyay   |   Calcutta   |   Published 08.02.23, 07:05 PM

Copies of Legislative Assembly documents torn to shreds and flung in the air even as slogan chants of “hai hai” and “Jai Shree Ram” rent the air of the interiors of sanctum sanctorum of state’s democracy.

The chaotic scenes were witnessed on the floor of the Bengal Assembly House during the Governor’s address on the inaugural day of the Budget session of the state legislature, also the year’s first. BJP MLAs, led by the Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, took to a spirited disruption of and a subsequent walkout from Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose’s maiden speech in the House. 


While Wednesday’s developments bore the ominous promise of a stormy session in the days ahead, it also underlined a changed political equation between the state’s principal opposition party and the office of its Constitutional head in sharp contrast to that of the tenure of Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar who occupied the chair before Ananda Bose.

The chaos started when the Governor was barely 10 minutes into his speech and had begun reading out paragraph 9 on page 4 of his 19-page address. “Hon’ble members are well aware that under the stewardship of my chief minister, the preceding year passed off peacefully and the government is ever alert to maintain law and order and communal harmony in the state,” the first sentence of the paragraph read.

It was then that Adhikari and the rest of the MLAs from the opposition corner of the floor stood up trying to register their protest by means of incessant sloganeering and dampening the Governor’s speech, so much so that the address became barely audible and overshadowed by slogans like “Chor Dhoro Jail Bhoro” (Catch the thieves and fill up jails) and “Durniti Ke aaral kora rajyapal er bhashon shunchhi na shunbo na” (We are not listening to the speech of a Governor who tries to hide corruption). It wasn’t until the protestors left the floor some 15 minutes later in the middle of the address that Ananda Bose was able to complete his task amid some half-hearted table thumping by the Trinamul Congress legislators.

Asked whether the act was planned and desirable, senior BJP MLA and economist Ashok Lahiri said: “The protest was spontaneous and we hadn't planned it before. We had to put up the undesirable show because the undesirable things were being said from the government’s side.”

Justifying the move, Suvendu Adhikari said: “We had hoped that the Governor would walk the path of some of his predecessors like Gopal Gandhi, KN Tripathi and Jagdeep Dhankhar who forced their respective governments to change speeches because they couldn’t agree to what it said, or more recently of Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi who refused to read out his government’s speech. Instead, we saw him walk the path shown by Mamata Banerjee blurting out lies on record.” “We don’t hold him responsible. We are just disappointed,” Adhikari added.

“At a time when the state is deafened by sounds of bomb blasts daily, opposition party workers are attacked and tortured and minority community leaders like Naushad Siddiqui are manhandled by the police, the speech paints a rosy picture of the law and order situation of the state which is, in reality, on the verge of a collapse,” he said.

“The speech, written by the secretary to the Governor Nandini Chakraborty who was planted in his office by the chief minister, attacks the Centre with blatant lies. The truth is that the Centre has asked the state to link the job cards of MNREGA beneficiaries with their Aadhar cards to root out the fake job cards and take the Rs 2,800 crore for which the state has raised a demand for under this head. The amount mentioned in the Governor address, Rs 11,800 crore, is totally baseless. Similarly, despite the large-scale corruption in Avas Yojna, the Centre has sanctioned 11.26 lakh homes under the rural housing scheme. The speech states otherwise,” Adhikari said.

“The Governor, it seems, has walked into a trap laid out by Mamata Banerjee. We thought he would, at least, skip certain paragraphs during the course of his reading of the speech but he kept going on. We had to register our protest both on the floor and outside the House,” Adhikari said while denying that the party staged a formal walk out.  

Explaining his “shame” slogan aimed at the Governor, Adhikari said, “He had blasphemously compared Mamata Banerjee to leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee and APJ Abdul Kalam some time back. Although I don’t accuse him of taking sides yet, I think he is being misguided by the state. We ask him to stay on the right track or else we will continue to remind him of his shameful words.”

Asked whether he would report the Governor’s activities to his party’s central leadership, the BJP leader said: “There’s no need. We do not depend on any individual, no matter how high a Constitutional position he may hold, to defend our politics. We have kept on fighting since the 2021 state polls on our own might and we will continue to do so.”

Responding to the BJP protest, TMC MLA Madan Mitra said: “The current Governor is one of the finest this state has ever had. He is learned, erudite and a thorough gentleman. It was a shameful act on part of the BJP to do this to him. They have brought bad names not just to the Assembly but to the entire state. Just like they have ripped off Assembly papers, the people would also rip them out in the upcoming panchayat elections.”

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