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On a day when the country watched Lok Sabha MPs come to blows and one use pepper spray on fellow lawmakers, MLAs in West Bengal were told off for their unruly behaviour and foul language by some very discerning visitors to the assembly.
A group of 86 students of Kolkata’s Holy Child Institute, accompanied by four teachers, was visiting the West Bengal assembly on Thursday.
The idea was to watch the House proceedings from 11am till 5pm. But barely an hour into the session the group walked out, taken aback by the tone and level of discussion.
"If we knew such language is freely used in the assembly, we would not have brought our students here," said one of the teachers.
Koel Saha, a Class 10 student said, "We came here to see how proceedings are conducted in the House. But we only got to see how indisciplined they are.”
Payel Sarkar, another student, said, “I have read that Lenin used to call the parliament a pigsty. I now know why."
Another student said the chaotic scenes were a big letdown. "In our class, if the monitor asks us to be quiet, we do so. But here, the more the monitor (speaker) was asking the members to maintain order, the more they were yelling."
Speaker Biman Banerjee later admitted assembly sessions were often animated, but objected to the use of the word ‘indisciplined’ by students.
"The quality of debate was high on Thursday. Of course, there were counter arguments, but certainly it was not a symbol of indiscipline," he told HT.
The assembly had witnessed chaotic scenes earlier in the day.
Members of the treasury (ruling party) bench had tried to disrupt the speeches from the opposition. "Have you forgotten what CPI(M) did to you at Mongalkot in Burdwan. You had to run for your life with your dhuti tucked between your legs begging the government to rescue you," someone from the Trinamool Congress camp had taunted a Congress leader.
And when Trinamool chief whip, Sovondeb Chattopadhyay, got up to speak, he had uttered at least two unparliamentary phrases, both of which were expunged.