The Uttar Pradesh assembly on Friday briefly looked like turning into a battlefield when members of ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party nearly came to blows.
The pulls, pushes, shouts and shoves came during an adjournment following a heated exchange over the Muzaffarnagar riots.
As members from both the sides jostled, the marshals tried hard to keep them off each other and form a protective layer around chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari along and Congress legislature party leader Pradeep Mathur used their persuasive skills to pull the clashing members apart.
Tempers first began to rise when speaker Mata Prasad Pandey allowed BJP member Suresh Rana to make his point on accusations of delivering a provocative speech in Muzaffarnagar.
Minister for handicapped welfare Ambika Chaudhary, who was sitting next to the chief minister, objected, triggering a row.
Rana said he had not made any provocative speech and if there was any CD to show him doing so, it should be investigated. SP members were seen rising on their seats when Rana was making his point.
BJP member Upendra Tiwari rose from his seat and began speaking in an aggressive manner. Tiwari had defeated Chaudhary from Phephna seat in 2012 assembly elections.
Chaudhary asked Tiwari to take his seat. “I know everything about you. Take your seat.”
The BJP members took an exception to this. Led by the party state president Laxmikant Bajpai, the BJP members entered well of the House and began shouting slogans.
Chaudhary, however, continued saying he had seen the BJP member’s ‘goondagardi’ (highhandedness) on many occasions.
As BJP members continued to shout slogans, the speaker adjourned the House for 15 minutes.
Soon after the speaker left, some BJP members including Tiwari, Satish Mahana, Keshav Maurya and others proceeded towards the CM to make their point.
This led to strong reactions from the treasury benches.
The SP members including ministers Narad Rai, Pawan Pandey and Kamal Akhtar formed a circle around the CM.
The SP members began pushing the BJP members away from the CM and this led to a scuffle. Members from both the sides were seen pushing each other when Congress members Tiwari and Mathur intervened.
When the House reassembled, Tiwari tried to make a light of the whole issue urging the speaker to ensure no further heat was generated from the air-conditioners. “As a senior member I regret whatever happened here. It should not have happened at all.”
Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya (Bahujan Samaj Party) said it was unfortunate that such a situation had unfolded on the last day of the assembly session.
Maurya also tried to make a light of the issue, saying leaders sitting next to the CM were losing their cool. He did not take names, but the remark was not lost on the members, who had seen minister for parliamentary affairs Mohammad Azam Khan fuming on Thursday.
The CM should get his body checked for any instrument that may be generating some negative energy, said Maurya, adding, “ministers may be doing so to score a point.”
Chaudhary said he did not use any offensive language and would readily express regrets if there were any objections.
The speaker said women guards had been pushed in the scuffle and he had taken a serious note of the incident.
This is not for the first instance of such a ruckus in the assembly.
In one of the worst clashes, members had used using microphone rods and whatever else was at hand to hit each other.