Assam Opposition seeks order in House

Guwahati, March 6 : Agitating Opposition parties returned to the state Assembly after extracting three commitments from Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai that he would henceforth “conduct” the business of the House according to rules, ensure security of members and expunge unparliamentary exchanges.

Leader of the Opposition, Chandra Mohan Patowary, announced the decisions at a meeting convened by the Speaker.

The Opposition leaders, including Patowary, AIUDF’s Sirajuddin Ajmal and BJP’s Mission Ranjan Das, squatted in front of the Speaker’s chamber this morning when he did not take any action on the resolution adopted by the Opposition parties after yesterday’s walkout.

The walkout was in protest against health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s “vitriolic personal” attack on former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and the “threat” issued to him which was construed as a threat to security to all Opposition members. The parties also protested the Speaker’s inability to control the situation and for being biased towards the ruling party.

Having got the wind of the Opposition’s move to prevent the Speaker from starting the proceedings, deputy Speaker Pranati Phukan started the question hour.

However, the Opposition stuck to its demand for security, equal treatment inside the House and expunging of unparliamentary exchanges.

The House was adjourned first for two minutes and then for 30 minutes to sort out the issue amicably.

After the meeting, involving Congress members Pradyut Bordoloi, Rockybul Hussain, Bhupen Borah, Opposition leaders Patowary, Das, Ajmal, Independents Bhubon Pegu, Jiten Gogoi and a few others, the parties decided to extend their support to the Speaker to conduct the business of the House.

Patowary said he was satisfied with the outcome and hoped that such developments would not be allowed in future.

“Adjournment of the House is an unprecedented development. Contrary to what the government thinks, the Opposition is united and constructive. Today our strength has only increased after Independents Pegu and Gogoi joined us in the meeting with the Speaker,” he said.

Incidentally, two of the Opposition members, including Brindaban Goswami, who were inside the House during question hour were not aware of the gherao. They came to know of it when they came out after finding their colleagues missing.

When the House re-assembled, both the ruling party and Opposition tried not to interfere during each other’s submission.