Andhra legislators clash with marshals in assembly (Lead)

February 11th, 2009 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Feb 11 (IANS) It was lawlessness in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly Wednesday as opposition legislators came to blows with marshals following their suspension from the house.
Speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy announced the suspension of 55 legislators of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for stalling proceedings.

They were demanding a debate on the alleged financial irregularities in 14 companies owned by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

The house witnessed scuffles between the legislators and marshals, who physically lifted the members out of the house after they refused to leave despite being suspended for the day.

The opposition legislators entered into heated arguments with the marshals and resisted them, leading to jostling. In the melee, window panes in the lobbies were damaged.

The TDP alleged that its legislators P. Keshav and A. Narendra were roughly dealt with by the marshals. They were given first aid. Narendra was seen with a bandage on his hand.

Interestingly, assembly chief security officer Gajapathi Raju also appeared later with a bandage on his hand.

The unsavoury incidents on the penultimate day of the last session of the assembly shocked the speaker, who tendered an apology to the people. Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy suggested that the assembly stop live telecast as members were trying to get public attention.

Terming the government’s attitude as “undemocratic”, the TDP and the three other opposition parties alleged that the ruling Congress was trying to stifle their voice.

The opposition parties alleged that even after the house was adjourned, marshals tried to physically bundle them out.

TDP chief and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu described the suspensions as a government move to overcome embarrassment over questions raised about the chief minister’s son’s financial deals.

Legislative Affairs Minister K. Rosaiah alleged that the opposition created a scene by not leaving the house despite their suspension. He told reporters that no opposition legislator was injured.

As soon as the house met for the day, opposition members were on their feet demanding a debate on the allegations against the firms. They said the chief minister had failed to respond to the allegations made during Tuesday’s debate on the Satyam Computer Services fraud.

Naidu had alleged Monday that the companies owned by the chief minister’s son were involved in many violations, including those of foreign direct investment rules.

Speaker Suresh Reddy Wednesday turned down the opposition request for a debate and tried to conduct the listed business on the agenda. Holding placards and raising slogans, the legislators then rushed to the speaker’s podium.

The speaker adjourned the house twice but the opposition did not budge from their stand.

Rosaiah moved the resolution for the suspension of the opposition legislators, including Naidu. The speaker announced the suspension of the legislators but they refused to leave the house.

The speaker asked marshals to evict the suspended legislators. As the situation became tense, the speaker stopped live telecast of the proceedings.

The speaker later condemned the incident and said it was the saddest day of his life. He said appropriate action would be taken against those found guilty.

“As the presiding officer of the house, I apologise to the people of the state for whatever happened today,” speaker Suresh Reddy said.

“Usually, when members are suspended, they themselves should leave the hall or they would be lifted by the marshals. But, today, they did not cooperate even when the marshals came in,” he said.

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