Chaos during Bengal budget session; slogans flare in assembly

Chaos during Bengal budget session; slogans flare in assembly

Kolkata | The West Bengal budget session on Thursday witnessed deterioration in the already tense relationship between the ruling TMC and the opposition BJP, as turmoil spread from the legislative chamber to the press corner, marked by slogans and counter-slogans.

The West Bengal Assembly Budget session began on Thursday amid chaos over the state song being played and BJP legislators singing the national anthem simultaneously.

Speaker Biman Banerjee after entering the House instructed officials to play the state song "Banglar Mati Banglar Jal" before the beginning of the budget session.

As the song was being played, BJP legislators stood up and started singing the national anthem.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the BJP for insulting the national anthem.

"National anthem is being played at the end. The BJP singing the national anthem when the state song is being played is an insult to the national anthem, " Banerjee said.

BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul, however, countered and said the national anthem is always played at both the beginning and the end of any government programme or budget session.

The West Bengal government last month had issued a notification declaring Poila Boisakh, the first day of the Bengali New Year, as the State Day and the song "Banglar Mati Banglar Jal" written by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as the state song.

Amid the disruption, Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya attempted to present the budget, only to face persistent interruptions from the opposition benches.

The Chief Minister slammed the BJP legislators accusing them of transforming the Assembly into "a party office."

She emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue during budget discussions and condemned what she termed as "dirty politics."

Expressing her dismay, Banerjee called upon the BJP to reflect on their actions, cautioning against descending into further acrimony reminiscent of past parliamentary clashes.

Despite the ruckus, the budget speech concluded, prompting the Opposition to convene a media conference at the press corner.

Simultaneously, within the Assembly chamber, the Chief, accompanied by minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, prepared for their live-streamed response to the budget.

However, tension escalated when the opposition, led by Suvendu Adhikari, refused to vacate the press conference area, prompting assembly officials to begin live-streaming the Chief Minister's response.

Banerjee criticized the opposition for allegedly peddling falsehoods and maligning Bengal's interests.

She also threatened to disengage with the media if they continued to provide a platform for baseless allegations.

Later, during a separate press conference, she charged the BJP with actively working against Bengal's welfare.

The situation further intensified outside the assembly premises, as Adhikari and his supporters heckled Banerjee's convoy, hurling accusations.

In a contrasting display, assembly staff, buoyed by the announcement of a hike in DA, rallied behind Banerjee, chanting slogans in her support.

As Banerjee's convoy left the assembly premises, Adhikari and his MLA hurled accusations of theft, shouting "chor, chor".

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