BJP, Congress MLAs exchange blows in Gujarat Assembly

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The disruptions erupted immediately after Question Hour as Congress MLA Vikram Madam sought to raise a point of order over the death of two children in the Ashram in 2008, even as Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Pradeepsinh Jadeja wanted a discussion on wastage of time in the House.

A verbal duel between some legislators from BJP and Congress ensued and suddenly Congress legislator Pratap Dudhat was seen rushing towards BJP's Jagdish Panchal with a microphone, which he then hurled at Panchal, missing him narrowly. Another MLA Baldevji Thakor, who allegedly punched his BJP rivals in the assembly lobby, has been suspended for a year.

The three MLAs were asked not to enter the Assembly premises during their period of suspension.

Speaker Rajendra Trivedi strongly reprimanded the legislators, calling their act hooliganism, and said the stiff punishment was aimed at setting a deterrent to such behaviour.

Following which, another Congress MLA Amrish Der protested the suspension and supported him. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel later told reporters, "This is a shameful incident which has never happened in the history of Gujarat Assembly".

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This invited a retaliation from the ruling party members, who assaulted Congress MLA Der.

Madam, however, insisted that he would speak.

There were chaotic scenes in the House when Agriculture Minister R C Faldu was speaking on the budgetary demands for his department. Parmar alleged that Panchal had used abusive words, which angered Dudhat. Following this, Congress legislators Ambrish Der and Virji Thumar rushed to the well and raised objection with the Speaker. Trivedi then suspended both the Congress MLAs for the day and they were taken out of the Assembly by the marshals. As, one by one, other Congress MLAs also started asking the same question of the Speaker, there was chaos in the House and the atmosphere became tense.

After the attack on Panchal, the speaker suspended Dudhat for the rest of the ongoing Budget Session. He then adjourned the House for 10 minutes.

Sanghvi said he ran towards the Opposition benches to save his fellow BJP MLAs and to stop the situation from worsening.

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