Shiv Sena, BJP boycott Maharshtra assembly over suspensions


Mumbai : The state’s main opposition parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, Friday boycotted the proceedings of the Maharashtra assembly to protest the suspension of nine of their legislators.

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Sporting black badges, the nine legislators and their party colleagues staged a sit-in outside the assembly, demanding revocation of the suspensions and continued to shout anti-government slogans after the house assembled Friday.

However, the government remained firm that the suspensions should not be revoked, but said it was open to a dialogue with the opposition.

On Thursday, the state assembly suspended the nine opposition members till Dec 31 for disrupting the house during the budget presentation Wednesday and continuing the ruckus the following day.

Those suspended were five Shiv Sena members Ravindra Waikar, Vinod Ghosalkar, Girish Mahajan, Pratap Sarnaik and Eknath Shinde, and four BJP members Sardar Tara Singh, Vijay Shivtare, Harish Pimpale, and Vijay Deshmukh.

“The opposition’s conduct in the house during the budget presentation (March 23) was not in accordance with the highest standards of the house,” state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil remarked Friday.

He offered to speak to the opposition to end the boycott of the legislatures, but said revoking the suspension was “out of question”.

State Industries Minister Narayan Rane termed the disruption of budget presentation as “a deliberate ploy by the opposition”.

“Even before the finance minister (Ajit Pawar) began his speech, banners and posters were ready and they (Sena-BJP legislators) trooped into the well. They pasted caricatures of senior Congress leaders in the house. This is not done,” Rane said.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said budget presentation is a very important occasion in a parliamentary democracy and the Wednesday incident was “sad and condemnable”.

“The issue of making opposition legislators chairman of the committees implementing the Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana had been discussed in the house and the government had assured them that a positive response would be given within a week,” Chavan pointed out.

Chavan said the opposition members pasted cartoons of senior Congress leaders who were not even members of this house.

“All limits were crossed. This is why we had to take such an action,” he said.

Chavan then urged Peasants and Workers Party member Ganpatrao Deshmukh to initiate the steps to end the opposition boycott since he was the senior-most member, even as Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil adjourned the assembly for an hour to enable the dialogue.