Ruckus in Gujarat Assembly as BJP, Congress MLAs exchange blows

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The Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday witnessed ugly scenes when the ruling BJP and opposition Congress members clashed in the House, leading to the suspension of two Congress MLAs for an unprecedented three years and a one-year suspension of another lawmaker from the party.

Senior Congress legislator Vikram Madam tried to raise a question and participate in the issue but was repeatedly shouted down by the members from treasury benches.

He was later suspended by the Speaker following which Congress MLA Amrish Der began speaking in his support. The speaker objected to his tone, following which Madam and Der rushed to the Well of the House in protest. The speaker suspended both the MLAs for the day and ordered that they be marshalled out. Tempers flared quickly but just when it appeared that it would remain a verbal confrontation, a Congress MLA - Pratap Dudhat and BJP's Jagdish Paanchal got engaged in a fist fight.

Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel raised a point in the assembly to which Congress MLA Vikram Madaan wanted to speak but was denied by the speaker. This forced the Speaker to adjourn the House for 10 minutes, which was later extended till 2.30 p.m.

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The zero hour on Wednesday witnessed fierce arguments, as members started hurling expletives at each other; while Mr. Dudhat hit BJP MLA Jagdish Panchal with his belt as both were engaged in exchanging blows and slaps.

Deputy Chief Minister Patel said the incident was shameful. The speaker adjourned the house for ten minutes, named Dudhat for five years term suspension and left but the effect did not stop there.

Speaker suspended Pratap Dudhat and Amrish Der for three years and Baldev Thakore for a year following acrimonious scenes in the state assembly. "But the BJP MLAs should not have used unparliamentarily language in the first place", said Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor. The entire opposition Congress staged a walkout after the strong action by the Speaker. In return, BJP MLAs collectively thrashed him inside the House.

Leader of opposition Paresh Dhanani, while calling the incident a black spot in the history of the Gujarat legislature, attempted to put the blame on BJP legislators.