FROM A CORRESPONDENT
Agartala, Sep 23: The Tripura assembly's proceedings were disrupted on Friday as opposition Trimool Congress (TMC) legislators accused Chief Minister Manik Sarkar of "humiliating" the country at a summit here and walked out of the house.
A ruckus was witnessed in the assembly as treasury and opposition benches engaged in a heated exchange of words on the issue. The six TMC legislators, who recently quit the Congress and joined the party, then walked out. Responding to the charge, Sarkar said he had just advised the Indian government "not to show big-brother attitude with the neighbouring countries as we should help each other for mutual benefit".
"As an Indian, I have the right to advice the Indian government about the country's foreign policy," Sarkar told the house.
Earlier, raising the issue, the TMC lawmakers led by Sudip Roy Barman told the house that the Chief Minister, while addressing the third 'North East Connectivity Summit' on Thursday, "humiliated the country" in the presence of foreign delegates by saying that "India has been acting as a big brother with the neighbouring countries".
"Pakistan has been alleging that India has been acting as a big brother. Sarkar's comments are similar to Pakistan's allegation against India," said Barman, who was supported by other five TMC lawmakers.
The three-day summit organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and supported by the Tripura government was attended by diplomats, officials and business representatives from Russia, Japan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Congress legislators led by their leader Gopal Roy too staged a walkout over the rejection of a motion by Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debth on the August 23 ethnic violence in Agartala.
The Congress demanded a judicial probe by a high court judge into the ethnic violence in which 24 persons were injured and 17 vehicles damaged. Meanwhile, West Bengal assembly member Mas Bhunia, who quit the Congress to join the TMC, on Friday urged Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy to take action against Sarkar for his comments. "The TMC will come to power in Tripura in the 2018 elections, ending the 23-year rule of the Left Front," Bhunia said at a gathering organised by the TMC's youth wing here.