The issue of hiking of the minimum support price for raw cotton, soyabean and paddy continued to dominate the proceedings of the state legislature on Tuesday.
Earlier, high drama was witnessed when a fire tender was summoned to douse the blaze outside the state legislative assembly on Tuesday.
It all happened when BJP legislators Nana Patole and two others, Nana Shamkule and Pasha Patel, staged a sit-in on the steps of the Assembly holding paddy hay, demanding adequate prices.
After some time, Patole allegedly set it on fire a few feet away from the building in protest against the government's casual approach towards the plight of farmers . Soon it caught fire and the premises was filled with smoke. Subsequently, a fire tender was summoned but the firemen put some water on the burning hay to douse it.
They were demanding a revision in the MSPs per quintal — Rs2,500 for paddy, Rs 6,000 for raw cotton and Rs 2,500 for soyabean.
The issue was later brought to the notice of the Speaker Dilip Wadse-Patil, who took a serious note of the incident. “This is not expected from the members. Before indulging in such a act, they should have thought about the safety and security of the members,” he said, and reminded them how the Parliament was rocked when terrorists attacked it a few years ago.
He expressed his displeasure that members hardly cooperate with the security personnel while entering the Assembly campus. “Such an act can threaten the safety and security of the House,” he warned and suspended Patole for a year that was endorsed by voice vote.
This led to furore among the Opposition and they created noisy scenes in the House and demanded that the suspension be revoked, which forced the chairman to adjourn the House.
There were clear indications that the government as well as the Opposition were buying time, apparently for different reasons, though both had vowed to take up agrarian crisis on a priority basis. Group leaders of the Opposition parties also indicated a standoff in the House. “The action taken on Patole is too harsh. We will not participate in the proceedings till it is withdrawn. The government should also come out with relief package for farmers without taking any more time,” said a BJP leader.
However, the request of the Opposition was denied to reconsider this decision and finally the House was adjourned for the rest of the day.