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Inquiry ordered against Azmi

mumbai Updated: Nov 12, 2009 01:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Pro-tem Speaker of the Assembly Ganpatrao Deshmukh on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Azmi’s behaviour inside the Assembly, and his alleged remarks against Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

This came after Shiv Sena legislators forced the House to adjourn thrice, demanding Azmi’s arrest. Sena leaders protested Azmi’s alleged statements on Tuesday, in which he described Thackeray as “old and childlike”. Before that, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators alleged that Azmi had provoked them on Monday by his actions.

Azmi made the comment on Thackeray while speaking to the media at Vidhan Bhavan, following which he was surrounded by Sena legislators, who warned him of dire consequences. On Wednesday, members of the Sena-BJP Opposition stormed the well of the House and unfurled banners denouncing Azmi as a traitor.

“The principal secretary of the Assembly will conduct an inquiry into Abu Azmi’s behaviour and statements uttered by him inside the House and submit a report to the speaker in the next 15 days,” Deshmukh said. He also accepted the Opposition demand to probe Azmi’s conduct before he was assaulted by MNS legislators on Monday.

“Suspending the four MNS leaders is one-sided action. There is also a need to examine Azmi’s conduct before the incident,” said Eknath Khadse, leader of the Opposition. Azmi stayed away from the day’s proceedings in the House to avoid confrontation.

Azmi and the MNS are locked in a bitter fight over Marathi. While MNS chief Raj Thackeray insisted all legislators take the oath in Marathi, Azmi publicly said he would not comply.

He also said he can’t speak Marathi and would prefer to take the oath in Hindi, the national language. On Monday, when he began taking the oath in Hindi, the MNS legislators interrupted and assaulted him.

As penalty, four MNS legislators — Shishir Shinde, Ram Kadam, Ramesh Wanjale and Vasant Gite — were suspended for four years. The MNS is now crying foul saying Azmi had incited its legislators, and is seeking action against him.

The winter session of the Legislature will begin from December 8 in Nagpur.