Himachal Pradesh governor ‘manhandled’ in Assembly complex, FIR against 5 suspended Congress MLAs



Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatraya was allegedly manhandled by some Congress members in the Assembly complex on Friday, following which five MLAs were suspended for the remainder of the Budget Session. Later, an FIR was registered against the suspended MLAs in Boileauganj Police Station of Shimla in the matter.

The incident took place outside the Speaker’s office when the Governor was leaving for the Raj Bhavan after he cut short his address in the House following a ruckus created by the Congress on the opening day of the Budget session.

#WATCH Opposition leaders protested & tried to stop the Governor outside Himachal Pradesh Assembly, earlier today.

FIR has been registered against five suspended MLAs in Boileauganj Police Station of Shimla in the matter. pic.twitter.com/2SJGhZd86v

— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2021

Speaker Vipin Parmar said the Opposition members tried to stop the Governor, who was accompanied by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur when he was going towards his cavalcade. They hit on the Governor’s back with copies of his address. They also hit the bonnet of the Governor’s car, the Speaker said, adding that he is examining the Assembly rules to lodge an FIR against the Congress legislators.

The Speaker told PTI that this is for the first time in the history of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly that a Governor was manhandled by Opposition members. After the incident, the Speaker suspended Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and four other Congress MLAs Harsh Vardhan Chauhan, Satpal Raizada, Sunder Singh and Vinay Kuma for the entire Budget session till March 20 on a motion moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj.

Earlier, the Congress MLAs created a ruckus in the House during the Governor’s address. He then skipped to the last sentence after reading the initial few pages and stated that the entire speech should be deemed as read. Suspended Congress MLA Harsh Vardhan Chauhan told PTI that they were waiting outside the Speaker’s office and just wanted to ask the Governor why he cut short his address but they were not allowed to do so.

He alleged that it was Deputy Speaker Hans Raj who manhandled the MLAs, a charge denied by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, who said the Congress legislators had planned to create a scene. Chauhan also said they did not have any intention of manhandling the governor. “If any FIR is registered against us, we will not go to the court for bail, rather we will prefer to be arrested,” he said, adding that the suspended Congress MLAs will sit outside the Assembly during the Budget session.

Earlier, while moving the motion in the House, Bhardwaj said Chief Minister Thakur had termed the manhandling an “attack on the governor”. It reflected the frustration of Congress MLAs after the party’s defeat in the recent panchayat elections, Bhardwaj added. The Assembly, which was adjourned till 2 pm on Monday earlier in the day, was reconvened at 1 pm on Friday to consider the motion moved by Bhardwaj.

No Congress MLA was present in the House at the time of suspension of the five MLAs. The session is scheduled to conclude on March 20. The chief minister will present the Budget for 2021-22 in the Assembly on March 6, Speaker Vipin Parmar had said on Thursday.

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