Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's description of migrant workers from Bihar as an "unwanted lot" everywhere in the country and his fulminations against MPs from the eastern state raised strong protests in Parliament on Wednesday. About a dozen members moved privilege notices demanding action against him.
Thackeray said MPs from UP and Bihar had shown their ingratitude towards Mumbai and Maharashtra with an anti-Marathi tirade in Parliament. Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh said he would seek legal opinion on taking action against Thackeray.
In an article, the Sena chief said Bihari leaders were trying to fan the fire of anti-north Indian feelings in Maharashtra and should realise this would only put their brothers in the state at the receiving end. Referring to Lalu Prasad, he said, "those who have turned Bihar into a hell should not try to teach nationalism to Mumbai and Maharashtra." The editorial also described Bihar MP Prabhunath Singh as a "murderer", saying "his place is in jail but he is in Parliament".
Devendra Yadav of the RJD raised the issue in Lok Sabha, saying this was a matter relating to the dignity of Parliament and could not be tolerated. Speaker Somnath Chatterjee responded: "Anybody making comments on a member here amounts to contempt and action would be taken. But let us follow procedure."
Cutting across party lines, Rajya Sabha members too demanded central intervention to deal with the problem in Maharashtra.