A day after the arrest of independent MLA Bachchu Kadu, lawmakers from both the Houses stood against the bureaucracy, claiming it sends out a wrong message and will help employees undermine the authority of elected representatives.
On Monday, Achalapur MLA Bachchu Kadu allegedly beat up BR Gavit, deputy secretary with the general administration department, after Gavit refused to entertain Kadu’s questions. Kadu had approached him to clear the government quarters file of a clerk with the public works department. Kadu was arrested on Wednesday.
The Opposition had moved an adjournment notice on the issue, objecting to Kadu’s arrest. Although the motion was rejected by the speaker, leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said the way Kadu was arrested was highly objectionable. “The force of 500 policemen had fortified the Vidhan Bhavan to arrest the MLA. Was he a criminal to be arrested like this,” he asked.
Jayant Patil of NCP said the state was not serious about the rise in the attack on legislators and it has not taken any action in the Sindhudurg case, where Shiv Sena MLA Vaibhav Naik was lathicharged by the police. He was joined by legislators from all parties except the BJP.
Gulabrao Patil of Shiv Sena said the action against legislators will give boost insubordination. “Government employees now plan to book Kadu under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The officer, who did not move the file for two months, too, should be held responsible, as the Right to Services Act holds employees responsible for completing the work in stipulated time.
“Had he moved the file in time, Kadu would not have been provoked to attack him,” he said.
Speaker Haribhau Bagade expressed discontent over the indifferent bureaucracy and said the government should take steps to ensure files related to the subjects of public interest are cleared fast. When BJP MLA Anil Gote tried to speak against the voices raised by the Opposition, it led to verbal exchanges and subsequent adjournments.
The government clarified it was chalking out a code of conduct for elected representatives.
Revenue minister Eknath Khadse said, “The chief secretary has been asked to submit a report into the incident. Once the report is submitted, the decision about the further course of action will be taken,” he said.
In the upper house too, the Opposition members expressed concern over the widening rift between the public representatives and the bureaucracy in the recent past. They alleged every time there is a clash, a public representative is held responsible, while the bureaucrat goes scot-free.
Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde said Kadu was arrested because of pressure from the employees. “Kadu demanded an answer from the officer on why he asked for money (bribe).
Kadu was arrested without a proper inquiry into the matter, while the officer was not asked any question,” Munde said.
Munde also expressed his disappointment over the special treatment being given to former BJP Yuva morcha leader Ganesh Pande, who is accused of molesting his party colleague.
Congress’ Sharad Ranpise told the Council a senior bureaucrat in Pune had circulated anti-government messages on a WhatsApp group.
Sena’s Neelam Gorhe demanded strict action against Pande for revealing the woman’s name on TV.