The Assam Legislative Assembly on Wednesday witnessed a noisy scene over change of senior Congress MLA Anjan Dutta's seat in the House and he along with party colleague Bhupen Kumar Borah boycotted the Question Hour over the issue.
Dutta's seat in the front row was alloted to former minister Ardhendu Kumar Dey, who was given a seat in the second row after he was recently dropped from the ministerial berth due to dissident activities. Congress members supporting Dutta alleged partiality by Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi, who informed of the new seating arrangement by a letter yesterday after the session was over.
"It is an insult to me. I am in this Assembly since 1991 and why suddenly my seat was changed? There are junior MLAs sitting in the front row. Some one will do dissidence and then he will be rewarded with a front row seat. You (Speaker) should be independent and impartial," Dutta said.
Gogoi said he had changed the seat as per the rules of the House and invited Dutta for a discussion in his chamber after the session. Dutta rejected his offer and staged a walk out boycotting the Question Hour protesting the new arrangement and did not attend the proceedings for the rest of the day.
His party colleague Borah also supported Dutta and said "The Speaker is being threatened by dissident MLAs. Dutta is a very senior member and in his support, I am also boycotting this Question Hour session." Borah, however, returned to the House after the Question Hour ended.
AGP MLA Phani Bhusan Choudhury said "It is very unfortunate and a black day in the Assembly's history. The Speaker's value is diminished. For this issue, the legislature party leader should have discussed with you in private." Later, Dey told reporters outside the House that his seat in the second row was given "on a written request of the Parliamentary Affairs Minister". "So I went to the Speaker and asked why this was done to me as I was a senior member and was a cabinet minister. Then he (Speaker) gave me this seat," he added.