A week after four Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators were suspended from the state Assembly for assaulting Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Asim Azmi, new legislators were taught to be efficient public representatives.
The most important lesson they learnt on Tuesday was to abstain from violence.
At least 100 of the 143 new legislators, including those from the MNS, attended the session conducted by the Maharashtra branch of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
Senior legislators trained the newcomers in effective use of legislative methods and maintaining orderly behaviour inside and outside the House.
“Muddya peksha gudde prabhavi hou nayet [exchanging blows must not be more important than issues],” said three-time Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Devendra Phadanvis. “Our primary job is to make laws and resolve issues through debate.”
Several trainers referred to last week’s violence. “We must learn how to behave in the House and outside,” said Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal. “The world watches us and forms an opinion based on our good or bad behaviour.”
“Issues get resolved through conflicts [debates in House]…” said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan leaving the audience to ponder over his message.
MNS legislators were also attentive. President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat, elected from Amravati, said, “This was an eye opener. I hope we take the advice seriously.”