Gujarat MLAs clash over Asaram ashram deaths

Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitinbhai Patel addresses the media after the ruckus in the Gujarat assembly on Wednesday

Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitinbhai Patel addresses the media after the ruckus in the Gujarat assembly on Wednesday

After the attack on Panchal, the speaker suspended Dudhat for the rest of the Budget Session. The entire opposition Congress staged a walkout after the strong action by the Speaker.

At this point, BJP MLA Jagdish Panchal passed some remarks that prompted Congress legislator Pratap Dudhat as well as another Congress MLA to rush towards the Well of the House.

The ruckus erupted during discussion over tabling the report of Justice D.K. Trivedi Commission in the Asaram Bapu case pertaining to the unnatural death of two children studying in the ashram in 2008.

According to the ruling, the suspended legislators would not be allowed to enter the Assembly premises for the term of suspension.

Congress legislator Amrish Der then objected to it and asked the Speaker to allow Maadam to express his views.

Dudhat was angry with Panchal for asking Congress MLAs to remain silent when the speaker was making his point. This enraged Congress MLA Pratap Dudhat, who then attacked BJP's Jagdish Panchal with a rod attached to a microphone.

The action created a furore in the House as nearly everybody got excited and started shouting.

Dudhat's action created a furore in the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House.

Following the Gujarat assembly elections in December 2017, the Opposition strength increased from 64 to 81, whereas, the ruling BJP was reduced from 115 to 99. Following this, Congress legislators Ambrish Der and Virji Thumar rushed to the well and raised objection with the Speaker.

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"The BJP is trying to shift the people's attention from public issues like the death of children in Asaram Ashram". But our voices are being gagged. "For the past six-seven days, our MLAs were complaining to me that they were being provoked by BJP MLAs like Jagdish Panchal and others who were using abusive language. Today also, he spoke something bad about my mother which infuriated me and, in a spate of anger, I rushed towards him".

The incident closely follows similar scenes in the Telangana Assembly where a Congress lawmaker Komatireddy Venkat Reddy threw a mike which struck and injured Swamy Goud, chairman of the Legislative Council in Telangana.

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