Gandhinagar, March 14 : Two Congress legislators were on Wednesday suspended for an unprecedented three years from the Gujarat Assembly and another for one year after members came to blows over a demand for a discussion on the death of two children in Sabarmati’s Asaram Ashram.
Speaker Rajendra Trivedi suspended Pratap Dudhat and Amrish Der for three years and Baldev Thakore for a year following acrimonious scenes in the state assembly. The entire opposition Congress staged a walkout after the strong action by the Speaker.
The disruptions erupted immediately after Question Hour as Congress MLA Vikram Madam sought to raise a point of order over the death of two children in the Ashram in 2008, even as Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Pradeepsinh Jadeja wanted a discussion on wastage of time in the House.
Madam wanted to know whether the government intended to table the report of the commission entrusted to investigate the unfortunate incident. But the Speaker ruled that such points of order were not allowed.
Another Congress MLA Ambrish Der joined Madam and started questioning the Speaker’s ruling on the matter. As, one by one, other Congress MLAs also started asking the same question of the Speaker, there was chaos in the House and the atmosphere became tense.
Apparently agitated over something told to him by BJP MLA Jagdish Panchal, Dudhat rushed from his place towards the treasury benches, grabbed a microphone from the desk and threw it towards Jagdish Panchal. Fortunately, the microphone missed Panchal.
Dudhat’s action created a furore in the House as almost everybody got agitated and started shouting. This forced the Speaker to adjourn the House for 10 minutes, which was later extended till 2.30 p.m.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel later told the media: “This is a shameful incident which has never happened in the history of Gujarat Assembly. Misdoings of Congress MLAs Vikram Madam, Pratap Dudhat and Ambrish Der have been recorded by the CCTV cameras in the House and we are going to request the Speaker to make it accessible to the media.A
“We are also going to request the Speaker to take strict action against the violent behaviour by the three opposition members. None of our MLAs were such violent or used any foul language.”
However, Dudhat said: “The BJP is trying to shift the people’s attention from public issues like the death of children in Asaram Ashram. We, as opposition, have every right to know about such public issues. But our voices are being gagged.
“For the last six to seven days, BJP MLA Jagdish Panchal has been uttering bad words and using foul language against me in the House. Today also, he spoke something bad about my mother which infuriated me and, in a spate of anger, I rushed towards him.”
Later, the Speaker suspended Dudhat for the entire Budget Session of the House, but subsequently decided to suspend him and Der for three years, and Thakore for one year.