Amid BJP protests, Governor stops his speech mid-way and walks out of Assembly
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar ended his speech midway during the first day of the budget session of the Bengal Assembly amid vociferous protests by Opposition BJP MLAs on Friday, a throwback to the days of the Left Front rule when the Congress opted for similar disruptions.
The newly elected BJP legislators disrupted the Governor’s speech as they gathered at the Well of the House, shouting slogans condemning political violence in the state.
When Dhankar stopped for the first time, about three minutes into his speech, he spoke with chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Speaker Biman Banerjee and decided to continue. A few minutes later, he stopped again. But this time, he decided to stop reading the speech.
He was out of the Assembly within eight minutes.
At the end of the day, both the ruling and Opposition party could claim victory.
“There was no mention of the post-poll violence in the state, which is why we objected to the Governor’s speech,” said Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP's leader of the Opposition.
The BJP protest on the floor of the House happened hours after the Calcutta High Court ordered the state police to register all cases of victims of post-poll violence and instructed the state government to ensure that the victims get treatment and ration.
Governor Dhankhar has himself been quite vocal against the post-poll violence in the state. He has visited some rehabilitation camps and has even written two letters to the chief minister, marking an acrimonious start to Mamata’s third term as chief minister.
The ruling party, however, also claimed victory as the Governor’s speech—prepared by the state government—was tabled in the Assembly. "What we wanted to say, we have it on record,” said a Trinamul leader.
"The Governor informed the Speaker the speech that was tabled is his speech. There is no controversy here. Regarding the BJP's allegations on post-poll violence, what we have to say we will say during the discussion on the Governor's address," said Partha Chatterjee, industry and parliamentary affairs minister.
The Congress which does not have a single representative in the 17th Assembly described Friday’s incident as a “got-up game.”
“It’s like mock fights we see in films, that no one really wins,” said Abdul Mannan, veteran Congressman, who has heard and disrupted many a Governor’s speech during the long stint of the Left Front when he was in the Opposition.
“We did not allow Governors BD Pandey, TV Rajeswara to complete their speeches on many occasions,” said Mannan.
On one such occasion, governor S Nurul Hasan’s spectacles were broken during a ruckus in the Assembly on the first day of the session. Opposition Congress legislators had then disrupted the House, even hurling paper missiles, spree, forcing Hasan to cut short his speech.
During the Left rule, governor BD Pandey had to stop his speech midway and use the exit through the backdoor, used by Speaker, chief minister and other ministers, to leave the Assembly premises.
"In the nine years that we were in the Opposition with the Left, we did not target the Governor. There was a break from the tradition of opposing the governor's speech," said Mannan.