Mumbai violence finds echo in Bihar assembly


Patna/Nagpur : A section of legislators in the Bihar assembly Friday demanded the removal of Governor R.S. Gavai, a Maharashtrian, in a reaction to the anti-north Indian campaign by a Shiv Sena faction in Maharashtra.

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On the first day of the budget session, some legislators reportedly belonging to opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other parties started shouting slogans against the governor and demanded that he step down.

However, RJD leaders denied that their legislators had demanded the removal of Gavai.

RJD spokesperson Shyam Rajak said that opposition legislators were protesting against the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) outburst against north Indians, particularly people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and attacks on north Indian migrants in Mumbai and other places three weeks ago.

However, ruling Janata Dal-United and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and legislators maintained silence over the reported demand of some legioslators form Gavai’s removal.

Governor Gavai later told reporters that he condemned MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s stand against north Indians. “It was wrong. I have said it repeatedly. Biharis or any others have every right to settle anywhere in the country, including Mumbai,” Gavai said.

In Nagpur, an aide of Gavai told IANS: “Gavai saheb had declared soon after his nomination as Bihar governor that he was a Bihari from the day he took the office and that while in his chair, he thought of nothing but Bihar.”

Gavai, a former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman who headed the Republican Party of India (G) at the time of his appointment as governor, hails from Maharashtra’s Amravati district.

He is president of the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Smarak Samiti in Nagpur and also heads an education society that runs the Dr. Ambedkar College in the city.

Undeterred by the outrage caused by their anti-north Indian comments, Bageesh Saraswat, vice-president of the MNS, said in Mumbai: “Instead of calling Raj Thackeray anti-national, politicians of Bihar should call themselves anti-nationals. Raj Thackeray has not done anything against the law. The state of Bihar is the least developed and has the worst law and order situation.”

“Before pointing fingers at others, the politicians of Bihar should prove themselves by creating a city like Mumbai. Neither has the state (Bihar) any modern infrastructure nor are they doing anything for their people,” he said.

“All we want is that people living here should be proud about being in Maharasthra and imbibe our culture.”

Despite repeated attempts, Sanjay Raut, executive editor of Saamna, the Shiv sena mouthpiece, was unavailable for comment.