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Punjab assembly sees fisticuffs, flying turbans
Published on 9 Dec. 2009 12:01 AM IST
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A free-for-all erupted in the Punjab assembly Tuesday as Akali Dal and Congress members came to blows over the law and order situation in the state, sending turbans flying while legislators stood on tables to shout slogans. Members from both sides scuffled over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and the incidents of violence in industrial city of Ludhiana that has led to one death. The trouble started when Congress legislators moved menacingly towards Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal while he was making a statement on the law and order situation. Badal was immediately surrounded by Akali Dal legislators, triggering the scuffle. Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon intervened by adjourning the house for one hour but not before legislators from both sides got into a physical fight near his podium. Millionaire industrialist and Congress legislator Kewal Singh Dhillon's turban was snatched from his head and hurled in the air. Marshalls of the assembly tried to separate the fighting legislators. While the Akali members went out, Congress members kept shouting slogans, standing on the tables meant for assembly staff (reporters). The Akali Dal later urged the speaker to expel the Congress legislators who it alleged indulged in violence inside the house. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described the developments in the Vidhan Sabha as "most painful and a disgrace to democracy in the country". He said that he could not understand what the Congress really wanted to achieve by resorting to this "anti-democratic method". Talking to the media after the proceedings were brought to a premature end, Badal said he did not know why the Congress chose to disrupt a statement on the very issue they wanted to raise in the house. "Instead of taking part in a serious and meaningful analysis of the situation, the Congress strangely chose to launch a physical assault on the treasury benches, especially against me and the deputy chief minister. Is this the most civilised way to getting your point of view heard?" the chief minister asked. But opposition leader and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal alleged that it were the Akali Dal legislators who assaulted the Congress members. Sukhbir Badal, a first-time legislator, expressed surprise at the conduct of the Congress legislators and "especially senior Congress leaders like Rajinder Kaur Bhattal". "I had chosen to make a suo motto statement on the incidents in Ludhiana, the issue which the Congress says it wanted to discuss. Then why this ruckus?" Badal junior asked. When the house reassembled, the Congress legislators kept shouting slogans. The house will now reassemble Thursday as the speaker had stated earlier that there would be no session Wednesday.

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