Five Shiv Sena legislators were suspended for a year from the state assembly on Thursday for unruly behaviour inside the house on Wednesday.
Parliamentary affairs minister Harshvardhan Patil said the members of the assembly (MLAs) were suspended for disrupting proceedings of the house by throwing a copy of the Constitution of India, tearing papers on the table of the legislature secretary and for misbehaving with the presiding officer of the house, Dilip Sopal.
The Sena MLAs – Sanjay Rathod, Ravindra Waikar, Abhijit Adsul, Sharad Patil and Ashish Jaiswal – were protesting against the state government not announcing a compensation package for farmers affected by untimely rainfall in the state.
Rathod, who also tried to remove the mace of the speaker, had been suspended on Wednesday itself, but only for the current winter session of state legislature. On Thursday, his suspension was extended to one year. The MLAs will not only miss assembly proceedings till end of winter session next year, but they won’t be allowed to enter the premises of the state legislature as well.
“They tried to malign the image of the state legislature and hence the action is necessary,” said Patil, who moved the proposal to suspend the legislators after Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs Amin Patel, Shashikant Shinde and others demanded action against the Sena legislators for “insulting the Constitution of India”.
The suspension, however, did not go down well with the opposition parties, Shiv Sena and BJP, who forced adjournment of the house for the day. They termed the action as a “murder of democrary”. It was the second day in a row that the opposition disrupted proceedings of the assembly demanding immediate announcement of a compensation package for the farmers.
“The action is unfair and it was announced without even letting us explain our side. It seems the government had already planned this,” said opposition leader Eknath Khadse. The suspension has further strained relations between the government and the opposition parties with opposition leaders vowing to not let the legislature function in the coming days.
Waikar, who represents the Jogeshwari assembly seat, said he was suspended even though he had not climbed on to the podium like others. “The government is responding to our aggression with undemocratic moves. Action is being taken just to discourage the opposition from targeting the government over various scams that have surfaced,” said Waikar. He alleged that three-four Congress legislators had also climbed onto the podium, but they were not suspended.
Patil, however, denied the allegations. “We took action after looking into all the aspects. The step was unfortunate, but was taken to maintain sanctity of the legislature,” he said.