An aggressive Shiv Sena disrupted the proceedings of the Maharashtra Assembly twice on Monday morning, in protest against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Nana Patole’s private member’s bill in favour of statehood for Vidarbha in Parliament last week .
Sena MLAs came out in saffron caps with ‘Akhand Maharashtra’ (United Maharashtra) stickers on them along with placards with slogans hailing a united state. Sena legislators were joined by Opposition members as well. Sena MLAs asked chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to spell our his stance on the issue.
Fadnavis told protesting MLAs that the government will clarify it’s stand by the end of Monday, a response that did not satisfy the legislators who continued sloganeering in the House. The proceedings have been adjourned twice due to the protests. The ruling alliance is split over the demand for a separate Vidarbha with BJP in favour of the demand and Sena strongly against any division of the state. The Sena is also upset with the BJP over its recent appointments for the Shirdi temple trust, as BJP, according to the Sena, renegaded on the promise to appoint a Sena leader as deputy chairman of this trust.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, meanwhile, said that the issue of carving out a separate state for Vidarbha was currently not under the government’s consideration. “It is the Centre’s prerogative to decide on the issue and the state government has no role in it. The government are not considering the issue at present, nor has it sent out any such proposal to the Centre.”
Fadnavis tried to take the sting out of the Sena’s protests, saying that the Congress-NCP alliance were trying to fuel divisions between the ruling parties. “The BJP and the Sena’s stand on the issue has always been clear. But, the Congress-NCP aren’t spelling their stand out and are instead trying to create divisions between the Sena and BJP.”
Fadnavis, however, refused to spell out his government’s stand on the issue, only saying that it was committed to Vidarbha’s development. The Sena, however, wasn’t impressed with Fadnavis’ response and continued protesting, forcing another adjournment, the third in less than two hours.