The new West Bengal Assembly’s first session began on a stormy note on Friday as Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs disrupted Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s speech, The Indian Express reported.
Dhankhar was able to only speak for three to four minutes as BJP MLAs carrying pictures of alleged victims of post-poll violence in the state stormed the well to stage protests.
The governor then tabled his speech in the House and left, PTI reported. Speaker Biman Banerjee and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee escorted the governor out of the Assembly.
The Trinamool Congress won the West Bengal Assembly election that was conducted between March 27 and April 29. The party won 213 seats, while the BJP got 77.
Violence erupted soon after the declaration of the results on May 2. The BJP and the Trinamool Congress have blamed each other for the deaths of several party workers. Various news reports put the toll between 11 and 14, but the police have not yet confirmed these numbers.
On Friday, during Dhankhar’s speech, BJP MLAs led by Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari held up placards and shouted ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’, according to The Hindu. Later, Adhikari told reporters that there was no mention of the post-poll violence in the governor’s address, which had been prepared by the state government.
Adhikari said that Dhankhar had been sensitive about the matter and had even visited Sitalkuchi and Nandigram, but he had to read the speech that was approved by the state government.
Earlier in the day, there was uncertainty about whether Dhankhar would read the speech. “If they write anything in the address which is unconstitutional...will I read that?” he had asked. “Every address has to conform to constitutional parameters and boundaries.”
The Assembly session will continue till July 8 and the state budget for 2021-’22 is expected to be presented on July 7.
The chaos in the West Bengal Assembly took place on a day when the Calcutta High Court criticised the state government for being in denial about the violence and not registering complaints about the incidents.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Centre, the Election Commission of India and the West Bengal government on a petition seeking a Special Investigation Team inquiry into the violence.