It was a day of slogans and recriminations at the Maharashtra legislature, with both Houses witnessing pandemonium on Friday.
The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which had geared up for an offensive against Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ‘tainted’ ministers – women and child development minister Pankaja Munde, school education minister Vinod Tawde, water supplies minister Babanrao Lonikar and minister of state for urban development Ranjit Patil - demanded their resignations and a probe into the controversies.
Ruling parties retaliated by demanding the arrest of NCP MLA Ramesh Kadam for siphoning off funds from the public sector undertaking, Annabhau Sathe Corporation, along with arrest of middlemen in the Telgi case.
Opposition members started protests before both Houses by sitting on the steps of the Vidhan Bhavan holding placards and shouting slogans.
After the Lower House was assembled and the Question Hour was called, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil demanded that Opposition’s adjournment motion over the ‘tainted’ ministers be discussed. “You came to power promising corruption free reign and transparency. On those grounds, you should sack the tainted ministers and initiate probe against them,” he said.
Rejecting this, CM Devendra Fadnavis said his government was open to probes into all allegations but would not concede to this demand.
The Assembly was adjourned twice and speaker Haribhau Bagade rushed through the day’s proceeding in just about 90 minutes. All through the proceedings, members of the ruling party and the Opposition kept shouting slogans. Amidst chaos, the government discussed two calling attention motions, tabled two bills - besides one private member bill - and wrapped up a half hour discussion on Mumbai.
The Opposition benches created mayhem at the Legislative Council, demanding resignations of Tawde, Munde and Lonikar. “The CM gave them a clean chit without even an inquiry. They need to resign. We will not allow the house to function till they quit,” said Dhananjay Munde, leader of the Opposition in the Council. The speaker had to adjourn the House twice but the members did not relent which forced the speaker to call it off for the day.
The BJP reacted in the Council by repeatedly quoting the Telgi scam. They hurriedly unfurled banners saying that Opposition benches were also scam-tainted and their leaders needed to be jailed.