GUWAHATI, March 31 � The State Assembly today witnessed noisy scenes after Speaker Pranab Gogoi read out his draft report on the definition of �Assamese�, with both the ruling Congress party as well as principal opposition party All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) going to the extent of questioning the validity of the move.
Members of the Congress and AIUDF contended that the Speaker in his capacity cannot propose such a definition through the House.
The members also stressed that a thorough consultation involving the political parties was needed before coming to a consensus on a proper definition.
State Minister Rakibul Hussain, while taking part in the discussion, urged the Speaker to leave it to the government, which would take opinions of different parties and organisations into consideration before coming to any firm definition.
Interestingly, the members of the House had pledged their support when the Speaker decided to come up with a report on the definition of �Assamese� after consultation with various organisations.
Although the Speaker got some support from the members of Bharatiya Janata Party, Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland People�s Front, his report could not go into the Assembly proceedings.
The Speaker, through his report, proposed to get a definition of �Assamese� with 1951 as the base year, which too was opposed by the AIUDF MLAs.
Congress MLA Ardhendu Dey was the first to object to the Speaker�s draft report, stating that the MLAs of all the parties must be taken into confidence before coming to any consensus on the definition.
AIUDF MLA Rahim Khan was also quick to demand withdrawal of the Speaker�s report, saying, �As 1971 has been fixed as the base year for the NRC update, taking another base year (1951) to define �Assamese� will be self- contradictory. This is a sensitive matter and we must have a threadbare discussion on it before coming to a decision.�
Congress MLA Abdul Muhib Mazumdar also joined the bandwagon and said, �As there appears to be some division, the House should not act in a hurry.�
AGP MLA Prafulla Kumar Mahanta however, reasoned that as the draft report was prepared by the Speaker and was read out on the floor of the House, it was the property of the House and hence be recorded in the proceedings.
The Speaker later told the House that the report would be handed over to the State government by him in his �individual capacity�.