Congress and BJP legislators came to blows after a heated exchange in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly on Friday, forcing Speaker BB Butail to adjourn the House for 15 minutes.
Trouble started soon after question hour when BJP legislator Govind Thakur raised the issue of the recent violence at Government Degree College in Sanjauli. Butail paid no heed to Thakur’s raising the issue and continued with the proceedings, prompting BJP MLAs to raise slogans. They alleged that chief minister Virbhadra Singh was shielding the college principal, involved in the violence. The BJP members continued raising slogans when ruling Congress MLAs also got up and began raising counter-slogans.
The situation worsened when Virbhadra Singh made a reference to the derogatory remarks against chief parliamentary secretary Neeraj Bharti by opposition leaders. This led to a heated exchange between Bharti and state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti. Both hurled abuses at each other. Amid the pandemonium, Thakur and Satti headed for the well of the House, challenging Bharti.
Other BJP members joined the two in the well when Satti threw a newspaper clipping at the chief minister. Congress members, including ministers, gathered around Virbhadra Singh and were seen arguing with the BJP legislators. The argument turned violent and the two sides exchanged blows.
Senior Congress leaders, including Asha Kumari, transport minister GS Bali and parliamentary affairs minister Mukesh Agnihotri, tried to pacify the BJP members, who later sat in the well. Butail adjourned the House for 15 minutes. The chaos continued even after the House resumed as the BJP legislators continued raising slogans. The Speaker directed that the unparliamentary remarks used by both ruling and opposition members be expunged. He also asked the media not to publish any photo of the violence though the House proceedings continued amid sloganeering.