Legislators slug it out in assembly
The opening day of the Budget Session of Delhi Assembly was marked by unprecedented scenes and threatened to become a wrestling ring with the legislators pouncing on each other menacingly.
Fisticuffs, use of un- parliamentary language, shoving and pushing took centrestage and democratic traditions took a backseat as the MLAs abused each other.
The entire drama unfolded at a time when Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna was reading his speech on the achievements of the government. The Opposition BJP had come well prepared to “expose” the government with slogans pasted on their shirts and banners placed at vantage points in the House.
When three-time Congress MLA Bheesham Sharma removed one of the banners denouncing the government and trampled it under his feet, the BJP MLAs jumped on their feet. BJP legislator from Saket Vijay Jolly jumped in the well of the House. Sharma pushed him.
Soon bedlam broke out as other Opposition members jumped in the well to rescue Jolly. NCP MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri requested the BJP members with folded hands to go back to their benches but none obliged.
It was now the turn of two other aggressive BJP MLAs, Kulwant Rana and Ramesh Bidhuri, to take on the Congress legislators who were moving all over the well of the House in front of Speaker Prem Singh and Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna.
Veer Singh Dhingan, Rajesh Jain and Tarwinder Marwah, all from the Congress, pushed their BJP counterparts in the melee.
It was only after exchanging abusive language and exhausting their lung power for around 10 minutes that the agitated lawmakers returned to their benches.
“This is shameful. The conduct of the BJP members needs to be condemned in strong words. This is a tradition of the BJP,” Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters after the speech of the LG. Asked why weren't the Congress members checked, she said the BJP MLAs “provoked them”.
The BJP members differed. “We were merely protesting against the government for problems like water, power and sealing. The Congress members tried to suppress the protest,” said Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan. He, however, said such behavior should be avoided for the best traditions of democracy.
Jolly, who was the first to jump in the centre, was choked and could not speak.