Tempers run high in Lok Sabha over Gorkhaland

A Trinamool Congress member attacked senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh for making a strong plea for a political solution to the issue.

Updated: Aug 14, 2013, 15:49 PM IST

New Delhi: Tempers ran high over Gorkhaland issue in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday with a Trinamool Congress member attacking senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh for making a strong plea for a political solution to the issue but later expressed regret.

"Shame, shame, Jaswant Singh" and "we will not allow you to divide Bengal," Kalyan Banerjee said as he moved menacingly towards the BJP benches but was stopped by TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya.

The incident led to adjournment of the House for almost 90 minutes as several BJP members vociferously objected to the targeting of Singh who had called for an amicable settlement of Gorkhaland issue by ensuring talks among all concerned.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, he wanted the Centre to take the initiative in restarting the talks under the Tripartite Agreement between the Centre, the state government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Singh has been elected to Lok Sabha from Darjeeling, a part of the hilly region of West Bengal where a major section of locals are seeking a separate state of Gorkhaland.

As he was about to end his remarks, Trinamool members, including Banerjee, Bandopadhyaya and Sougata Ray, were on their feet shouting "Bengal will not be divided" and "we will not allow you to do it."

When the House re-assembled at 2 PM, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj lamented that a senior leader like Singh who has always been measured in his words had been attacked.

She said it would be better if the TMC member expressed regret for his behaviour so that the House could function. She noted that "Mamata Banerjee will never endorse your behaviour towards Jaswant".

Disapproving his conduct, Swaraj said Kalyan Banerjee lost his temper so much that it looked as if he would beat him (Singh) up.

She said his conduct was deplorable, unparliamentary and against the decorum of the House.

Responding to this, Kalyan said Singh is a senior member and if his sentiment has been hurt, "I express my regret".

Addressing Swaraj as his "elder sister", he told her that immediately after the incident, he spoke to TMC chief.

"I told my leader. She has not disapproved...My leader has not disapproved," he said.

But, at the same time, he said that he would continue to fight if there is any move to divide Bengal.

On his losing temper, Kalyan said Gorkhaland matter was a burning issue in Bengal.
After the TMC member expressed regret, Swaraj said the issue has been settled.