Stalemate continued in the state legislature on Wednesday after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan didn’t show any interest in apologising on behalf of his deputy Ajit Pawar, who is mired in controversy over his crass remarks against drought-affected people. The opposition accused Chavan of dishonouring an assurance to this effect.
The opposition members claimed they would pardon Pawar only after Chavan makes a statement. But Chavan didn’t turn up in the assembly. Speaker Dilip Walse Patil did not allow the opposition to table a resolution to condemn Pawar, following which an enraged opposition leader Eknath Khadse accused the speaker of curbing the right of elected pubic representatives. He demanded the session be extended at least by a week to make up for the period lost.
The protesting opposition did not allow both houses to function on the third consecutive day. The legislature will now meet again on Monday in view of holidays and the weekend. Though this gives Pawar some breathing space, the opposition has resolved to intensify street protests against the leader over the next three days.
Khadse said that the functioning of the legislature would depend on extending the session and CM’s statement.
Similar was the scene in the legislative council where the opposition was stringent in its demand for Pawar’s resignation. “Mere apology is not enough. We want him to resign,” said opposition leader Vinod Tawde. He also pointed out that the court had directed the government to release water for Solapur’s Ujani dam as the ruling parties had failed to govern.
Following the Bombay high court order, the irrigation department started releasing 4TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from the Pune region to Ujani dam. The water from the dam will be used in the parched areas.
But Chavan may not apologise on a demand from the ruling parties. The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders justified their stance saying that since Pawar had already apologised to the people of the state and the legislature, the CM would not make any further statement, and the opposition should end the issue amicably and allow the budget session to function.