A day before the BJP’s perceived second-in-command and Union home minister Amit Shah is scheduled to address his supporters in the heart of Calcutta, the state’s Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari was suspended for the entire duration of the ongoing winter session of the Bengal Assembly on grounds of displaying ‘insulting behaviour’ towards Speaker Biman Banerjee.
The suspended leader, on the other hand, confirmed his legislative party’s move to submit a motion of no-confidence against the Speaker. The motion was submitted to the Assembly secretary on Tuesday itself, Adhikari confirmed.
The very first day of business at the Assembly’s winter session turned out to be stormy during both halves of the day. In the first half, BJP MLAs staged a walkout from the floor of the House after the Speaker disallowed Manoj Oraon, BJP MLA from Kumargram, from reading out the unedited version of his speech during an adjournment motion on alleged corruption in the state spearheaded by a section of Trinamul Congress leaders. The speech was initially allowed by Banerjee on strict conditions that only an edited version of the speech can be read on the floor.
The chaos on the floor of the House soon spilled over to the Assembly portico where the protesting BJP leaders staged a demonstration.
Ironically, the Assembly observed Constitution Day on Tuesday to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949.
It was during the Question Hour that the verbal altercation between the Speaker and the BJP MLAs took an ugly turn following Banerjee’s warning issued to Shankar Ghosh, BJP MLA from Siliguri, for his remarks about MLAs who won elections on BJP tickets and later switched over to the Trinamul. Banerjee’s direction to expunge Ghosh’s statements were objected to by Adhikari and a bitter war of words soon broke out between the two. Adhikari staged a walkout with his party legislators for the second time during the day.
Trinamul Congress minister Tapas Roy later moved a resolution to suspend Adhikari for unruly behaviour in the House which was passed with an overwhelming majority.
“There’s no point in observing Constitution Day in the Assembly when opposition MLAs never receive Constitutional protection from the Speaker. We maintain that this house has violated all Constitutional norms in its day-to-day running,” Adhikari alleged.
This isn’t the first time Adhikari was suspended from the state Assembly. In March last year, Adhikari was among the five BLP MLAs suspended following a ruckus on the Assembly floor over alleged deterioration in law and order situation in the state. The suspension was later revoked in the wake of a Calcutta High Court order.
Meanwhile, TMC legislators held a two-hour sit-in demonstration at the base of the Ambedkar statue at the Assembly premises as part of the party’s pre-announced programmes to protest the Centre allegedly withholding funds for social welfare schemes. The TMC legislative party would remain in black dresses in the House on Wednesday as its response to Shah’s presence in the city, leaders said.