They were looking forward to their first day in the state legislature.
But the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena stole their thunder.
First-timers in the state Assembly could do little but watch as the MNS’s Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) assaulted Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi for talking the oath in Hindi.
The violence left the newcomers disappointed.
“People outside Maharashtra still think that ours is a progressive and non-violent Legislature,” said All India Youth Congress general secretary and Yavatamal MLA Nilesh Parvekar (37). Parvekar said it would be embarrassing to explain the unfortunate event to party colleagues in the eight states that he oversees as a party functionary.
Another Youth Congress general secretary Yashomati Thakur (35), MLA from Teosa, expressed displeasure. “I’m new to this house but I know there are legislative procedures to convey your point... Violence isn’t the proper way.”
The youngest MLA Kshitij Thakur (26) of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi condemned the incident. “I am an Indian first and other issues are irrelevant.”
Independent MLA from Badnera Ravi Rana (29) said he was shocked to see the MNS outrage. “I had high expectations but what happened today was shameful,” Rana said.
Congress’ Solapur MLA Praniti Shinde (29) justified the punishment for erring MNS members. “It is incorrect— morally and humanly — to abuse any one physically.”