The opposition on Monday targeted the deputy Chief minister, RR Patil, already on the mat over Khairlangi and violence that erupted in different parts of Maharashtra in the wake of desecration of Dr Ambedkar statue, in the Assembly over the police firing at a cotton procurement centre in Wani that killed a young farmer.
When the Assembly started on Monday, the leader of the opposition, Ramdas Kadam moved an adjournment motion and demanded the suspension of Question Hour for the discussion of farmers’ plights and police firing near Wani in Yavatmal district.
Incidentally, the Speaker Babasaheb Kupekar allowed the motion for discussion.
Initiating the debate, Kadam demanded immediate resignation of the deputy CM and suspension of Yavatmal police superintendent, Abdul Rehman for ordering firing on an `unprovoked’ mob. He also demanded that the police super be booked under section of 302 for killing a farmer.
When the farmers were facing hardship and committing suicides because of mounting debts and crop failure, instead of providing relief, the `insensible’ government is resorting to firing on them. The opposition leader insisted a compensation of Rs 10 Lakh, a job to the family and a judicial inquiry into the incident.
The senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde alleged that people in the state were in dilemma whether it was a government of Vilasrao Deshmukh, RR Patil or a Police Raj.
“The government, particularly the Home department, was trying to cover up the incident, Munde charged. “The police firing was totally unjustified and uncalled for,” Munde said and insisted that the district police superintendent of Yavatmal be booked under section of 302 and suspended immediately.
Replying to the motion, the minister of state for Home, Sidharam Mhetre defended the state police and blamed the cotton corporation of India for the unrest at Wani, alleging in corruption in procurement operations there. He, however, said that the exact reasons for firing would come out with the magisterial probe, ordered by the state government two days back.
Police had to use force in the APMC market yard on Friday as the farmers, camping there with cartloads of cotton for up to four days, attacked the marketing federation graders charging them with foul-play in fixing the grade of their produce.
“Strict action would be taken against the guilty whether it is the district police super or any one”, he added. When the motion was rejected on voice vote, the angry opposition staged a stormy walk out. Staging a walk out, the leader of the opposition, Kadam pointed out that how the ruling coalition was casual on the farmers’ issue and that reflected in the House as both the chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy chief minister, Patil were absent during the discussion on the issue and subsequent reply from the government.
The marketing minister, Harshawardhan Patil accused the opposition of politicising the issue and not serious about the farmers problem. “When I was giving a reply on the issue in the House they were not even ready to listen it. Instead, shouting slogans against the government,” he rued.
A slightly more restrained discussion was witnessed over the same issue in the Upper House where Leader of Opposition Pandurang Phundkar moved the motion.