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Maharashtra: Oppn stages walkout over Pawar's letter to Modi

india Updated: Dec 23, 2014 15:48 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra

The Maharashtra state assembly was adjourned for a brief period on Monday, after which the Opposition staged a walkout amid chaos over the chief minister’s refusal to respond to questions raised in the house about a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by NCP chief Sharad Pawer.

The house was adjourned for 15 minutes by speaker Haribhau Bagde, after he refused to allow Jitendra Awhad of the NCP and others to raise the issue in the House. Awhad had pointed out that Pawar had sent a seven-page letter to Modi recently, asking him not to head a high-level committee for development in Mumbai, as proposed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

However, the speaker rejected the motion, and started the business of the house. This enraged NCP and Congress members, who trooped into the well, shouting slogans against the government and protesting an alleged conspiracy to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra. Bagde had to adjourn the House for 15 minutes. When it reassembled, the situation remained the same.

Deputy leader of Congress Vijay Wadettiwar insisted there was need for a discussion on the letter, as Pawar had countered the views of Fadnavis, who, in his recent visit to Delhi, had requested Modi to head the proposed high-level committee. Wadettiwar pointed out that Fadnavis could give a response to the matter, as he was present in the House.

Bagde tried to convince the Opposition members to return to their respective seats, but they refused to comply. Bagde then resumed the business of the House, prompting the Opposition to stage a walkout.

The letter
The NCP chief Sharad Pawar wrote the letter to Modi on Thursday, after being discharged from a Mumbai hospital where he had undergone a total hip replacement surgery on December 5. Last week, Fadnavis had explained in the state Assembly that many issues critical to Mumbai’s development are pending in Delhi, and having Modi lead a committee to look into the matter would speed up the development process. He had reiterated there was no move to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra.

Conspiracy to separate Mumbai from state
Awhad alleged that Fadnavis was keen on separating Mumbai from Maharashtra. “This conspiracy to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra has been going on for a long time,” he said, adding that the city’s civic body and other state agencies have been working hard to make Mumbai what it is today. If Prime Minister Modi is so concerned, he should hold meetings twice a month, into the progress of the state capital and ensure that Mumbai flourishes as part of Maharashtra, he further said.