BJP lawmakers hit one another with shoes: More blasts from the past

BJP
TMC's Subhrangshu Roy and Tusharkanti Bhattacharya, and CPI(M)'s Debendra Nath Roy were the MLAs who joined the BJP along with several councillors. Photo: PTI

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi said hum ghar me ghus ke marenge (will attack the enemy in their homes), his party lawmakers seem to have taken it a bit too seriously. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and MLA in Uttar Pradesh came to blows in full public glare on Wednesday.

A video of a meeting has gone viral on social media in which, Lok Sabha MP from Sant Kabir Nagar, Sharad Tripathi and party MLA from Mehdawal, Rakesh Singh Baghel, exchanged blows. As an argument broke out over placement of names on a foundation stone of a project, Tripathi whipped out his shoe and attacked Bhagel.

Not to be ‘shoed’ away, Baghel hit back landing a few punches on Tripathi amid a stream of expletives from both sides. It continued even as security personnel and other BJP functionaries tried to intervene and separate them.

Lok Sabha MP Sharad Tripathi whacks BJP MLA Rakesh Singh Bhagel with his shoe

UP minister Ashutosh Tandon was also present at the meeting. The argument broke out with Tripathi questioning some official why his name was not there on the foundation stone for a local road. Baghel responded it was his decision not to have Tripathi’s name.

But can we blame Tripathi for getting violent over not being credited? After all, what is politics if its not about taking credit? Or such shoe-ticuffs?

Blasts from the past:

Indians, over the years, have got more than used to such public spats.

In March 2018, Congress and BJP MLAs slapped and kicked each other in the Gujarat Assembly. One of them broke a microphone and hurled it at other members. The exceptionally unruly scene and the expletives mouthed prompted Rajendra Trivedi, Speaker to adjourn the House for 15 minutes. The scene took a bollywood-sque turn when a Congress MLA Amrish Der, who was marshalled out of the House, entered the building from another gate and attacked a BJP MLA from behind. The BJP MLAs then retaliated and surrounded Der, who had fallen down, and rained kicks and punches on him.

In September 2018, Haryana Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal was suspended from Assembly for a year after the House saw him and leader of opposition Abhay Singh Chautala engaged in another shoe-chase, charging at each other with a shoe in their hand. Following a heated argument, both leaders stopped short of exchanging blows. Chautala held a shoe in his hand as he ran towards Dalal, who too took off his shoe, with both hurling abuses at one another. The Speaker summoned House marshals even as Congress MLAs held Dalal’s hands to stop him from attacking further.

Later, the Congress protested against the suspension of its MLA. Dalal said he would move the court against his suspension and questioned why no action was taken against Chautala. Back in September 2016, a Congress MLA Tirlochan Soondh hit Punjab minister Bikram Majithia with his shoe. However, the MLA later claimed that he had intended to hit Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha and not Majithia. According to Soondh, he was provoked by Valtoha as the latter abused him. Denying the charges, Valtoha said he will quit politics if the video recording of Assembly proceedings showed him abusing Soondh.

In another similar episode in 2016, B Ramanath Rai, a Karnataka minister then and some BJP MLAs stopped short of coming to blows in the Assembly. The BJP MLAs allegedly made some nasty remarks about the minister’s physical appearance during a debate about a police officer’s suicide. As an angry Rai raised his hand, the BJP MLAs moved threateningly towards him. However, it was then chief minister Siddaramaiah, who signalled for the marshals to intervene and prevented the situation from getting out of control.

However, the most infamous incident occurred in February 2014 inside the Lok Sabha, as MPs used pepper spray, broken glass shards and stationery items as projectiles on each other over the introduction of the Telangana Bill. The protests over the bill turned ugly the moment the then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tabled the bill in the Lok Sabha session.

Angry MPs from Andhra Pradesh rushed to the well of the House shouting slogans. Congress MP L Rajagopal, from Vijayawada, used pepper spray in the House causing burning sensation to several others. As many as 16 Andhra Pradesh MPs were suspended.When Prime Minister Narendra Modi said hum ghar me ghus ke marenge (will attack the enemy in their homes), his party lawmakers seem to have taken it a bit too seriously. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and MLA in Uttar Pradesh came to blows in full public glare on Wednesday.

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