Five Sena MLAs suspended for a year, opposition furious

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NAGPUR - Five Shiv Sena legislators were Thursday suspended from the Maharashtra assembly for a year following their unruly behaviour in the house, prompting opposition leaders to say the government was “running scared” as major scams were up for discussion.

Sanjay Rathor, Sharad Patil, Ravindra Waikar, Abhijit Adsul and Ashish Jaiswal were also barred from entering the premises of the state legislature buildings in Nagpur and Mumbai for a year, till the next winter session. The Shiv Sena members were demanding adequate compensation for farmers who had suffered huge losses during unseasonal rains over the last two months.

The winter session of the Maharashtra assembly started here, the state’s second capital, Wednesday.

A visibly upset Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshavardhan Patil told journalists that the stringent preventive action was taken as the legislators’ unruly behaviour in the house could continue even in the future.

The suspension came in the wake of chaotic scenes in the assembly Wednesday and Thursday when the members climbed on the speaker’s podium, grabbed the speaker’s mace and waved it in the air.

They are also accused of insulting the constitution, a copy of which they allegedly mishandled, besides throwing away legislature documents and files.

The resolution to suspend the five legislators was moved by Patil and accepted by the house by a voice vote.

Following the uproar after the suspension order, the house was adjourned for the day.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena combine was furious at the disciplinary action.

Shiv Sena’s leader in the house Subhash Desai termed the suspension as an “attempt” by the ruling Democratic Front government of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to reduce the strength of the opposition as major scams were due to come up for discussion in the legislature.

“They (the government) are running scared. There are serious issues like the missing papers from the Adarsh housing society scam, the Lavasa Lake City scam, Narayan Rane’s land scam, Manikrao Thakre’s mining scam and other major issues which are scheduled to come up for discussions during the winter session,” Desai told mediapersons Thursday afternoon.

One Sena member - Sanjay Rathor - was already suspended Wednesday for the entire session, Desai noted and asked why the government waited till the second day to act against the other four.

He said it was “a conspiracy hatched overnight” to take advantage of the situation in the house and push through the suspension of the remaining legislators Thursday.

BJP leader Eknath Khadse added: “We strongly condemn this move and feel that the government is crushing the voice of the legislators who were demanding justice for the farmers who suffered on account of the unseasonal rains in the state.”

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