The BJP is feeling the pressure mounted by Congress-NCP demanding action against its MLC Prashant Paricharak for his derogatory remarks against soldiers’ wives. The BJP-led government on Wednesday announced it will set up a committee to take action against Paricharak. The committee will comprise legislators, said revenue minister and senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil.
If expelled, Paricharak would be only the second legislator who had to face termination of his membership from the house, after late Jambuwantrao Dhote in 1964. Dhote had been expelled from the State Assembly for throwing a paperweight at the Speaker.
Paricharak, a legislator from Solapur, had joked — during campaigning in local polls last month — that soldiers stationed at the border distribute sweets when their babies are born although they haven’t come home in a year, indirectly alleging their wives are unfaithful. He later apologised for his remarks. However, the Opposition has taken up the issue and demanded his expulsion from the legislature. The Upper House of the state legislature has not been functioning since the budget session began on Monday as Opposition members have forced adjournment for the third day in a row, demanding termination of Paricharak’s membership. Sena legislators, too, have joined the Opposition.
Realising that the issue could become problematic, Patil announced the panel after a meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Opposition leaders.
He told the legislative council that although the government agrees that Paricharak’s statements were wrong, it would not be correct to take a flash decision about his suspension without giving him a hearing.
“It will not be in the spirit of democracy to suspend him without a hearing. The chief minister had a meeting of group leaders in this regard. We will bring a proposal to appoint a six-member committee to look into the incident and submit a report. The committee will be asked to submit a report before the end of the budget session.”
Paricharak is likely to face suspension for a specific period pending inquiry once the committee is formally appointed, and a final decision on his membership will be taken only after the panel submits the report, legislators said.
Although the Opposition is demanding Paricharak’s expulsion from the house, the state government is unlikely to succumb to the request and may simply suspend the legislator for a short period, said sources.
Significantly, if Paricharak is suspended, it would be the first case where a legislator will face action for remarks made outside the Legislature.