AGARTALA, June 20 - Tripura Assembly on Wednesday witnessed uproarious scenes over the absence of opposition leader Manik Sarkar that led to a walk out by the opposition members.
Soon after question hour, treasury bench member Dr Dilip Das took up the issue of Sarkar’s absence in the ‘important’ Budget session saying newcomers could have learnt a lot from a legislator, who ruled the State as Chief Minister for twenty years. “Unfortunately, he has remained absent in the House! He did enter the Assembly after playing of the national anthem on Monday”, he said.
Responding to the charge, veteran CPI(M) MLA Badal Chowdhury said, “Manik Sarkar went to Panisagar where a party leader – Tapas Sutradhar was brutally killed by unknown assailants on Monday night”.
Before Chowdhury could conclude his statement, BJP MLA Biswabandhu Sen stood up and said the issue has been rightly pointed out. “The opposition leader entered into the House after playing of national anthem on Monday. It shows his intention. In fact, the CPI (M) is anti- national and the former Chief Minister wants to show that he is above all”, he alleged.
Aiming to launch a counter attack on the treasury bench, Chowdhury said, “You people can’t wipe out CPI(M) by terming it as anti-national. We are a political party working for a cause. More so, the opposition leader is not bound to inform the matter to Speaker Rebati Mohan Das as he went there for a brief period”.
BJP MLA Dr Atul Debbarma pointed out that there was telephone directory prepared by the Assembly authority where all members’ names and phone number are given excect Manik Sarkar’s.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ratan Lal Nath citing a ‘precedent’, said he (Manik Sarkar) should inform the Speaker about his visit to Panisagar or elsewhere leading to a heated debate between the two sides.
But former Speaker and CPI(M) MLA Ramendra Chandra Debnath pointed out that there was no such precedent. “He went to Panisagar to meet the bereaved family in the hour of crisis and the visit is short. If a legislator goes for an entire session, he or she is supposed to inform the Speaker”, he said.
But the debate continued with Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman stating that Manik Sarkar did not reveal his family background triggering anger among the opposition legislators.
Shortly before the lunch recess, the opposition members walked out of the House alleging that it was a deliberate attempt to attack opposition leader Manik Sarkar.