HYDERABAD: Budget session of the State Assembly began on a stormy note Saturday with the ruling TRS and Opposition TDP and Congress members exhibiting pugilistic prowess during Governor ESL Narasimhan’s address to the joint session of the Legislature.
Interestingly, the TDP and Congress, poles apart in the normal course, came together, accusing the TRS government of engineering and encouraging defections of their legislators. That the session would be acrimonious was expected but none had anticipated violence!
The day began innocuously enough with the Governor, flanked by Assembly Speaker S Madhusudhana Chary and Legislative Council Chairman Swamy Goud, making his way to the podium. However, within minutes, TDP and Congress legislators trooped forward, raising slogans and holding placards. They also demanded the Governor’s intervention to prevent defections. They shred copies of the Governor’s speech into pieces and threw them all around and even at the Chair. Not to be outdone, several TRS members too rushed forward raising counter-slogans. What began as show of lung power took a turn for the worse when both sides jostled for space and showered choicest of abuses on one another. As tempers ran high, TDP MLA T Prakash Goud and TRS MLA Muttireddy Yadagiri Reddy rained blows on each other.
In the ensuing scuffle, a TDP MLC fell down and was allegedly ‘kicked’ by TRS MLAs.
Marshals had a tough time separating the warring parties. Sensing that it was going out of hand, Legislative Affairs Minister T Harish Rao and Education Minister Kadiam Srihari pacified and persuaded TRS MLAs to go back to their seats. The TDP and Congress persisted with their protest forcing the Marshals to push them back to their benches. However, the unrelenting members, including TDP MLAs A Revanth Reddy and E Dayakar Rao and Congress MLA SA Sampath Kumar, climbed atop the benches and shouted slogans.
Revanth threw the speech copies on the Governor while Sampath Kumar collected copies from other MLAs and gave one by one to him. The Governor’s speech didn’t last more than 15 minutes. Even after his speech when the National Anthem was being played, Revanth continued to stand on the bench forcing the Governor to wave his hand and direct him to climb down. The Assembly Hall reverberated with ‘Governor Down Down’ and ‘Governor Zindabad’ slogans as Narasimhan made his way out.
Earlier, in his address, the Governor described the motto of the government as “Sarva Jana Hitaya, Sarva Jana Sukhaya” (For the welfare of all and happiness of all) and listed its achievements. The Business Advisory Committee of the Assembly, which met after the dramatic episode, decided to form a committee with floor leaders of all parties to examine the video footage and take appropriate action. While the opposition demanded that TRS legislators responsible for the ruckus should be identified and dealt with seriously, the ruling party and the MIM sought action against members who showed disrespect to the National Anthem.
The session will resume Monday and more of the same is expected with the TDP and Congress vowing to disrupt the proceedings until action against their ‘attackers’ was taken.