The state Legislative Assembly on Monday revoked the suspension of four Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators.
The Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Raj Thackeray’s party were suspended for four years in November 2009 for allegedly assaulting Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Asim Azmi because he did not take his oath in Marathi.
Minister for State for Parliamentary Affairs, Bhaskar Jadhav, moved a resolution seeking the revocation of the suspension of Shishir Shinde, Ram Kadam, Ramesh Wanjale and Vasant Gite.
The House passed the resolution by a voice vote.
When the new state government was formed, Raj Thackeray had demanded that all newly elected legislators should take the oath in the House in Marathi.
Azmi had defied this and argued that taking the oath in the national language cannot be considered a crime.
MNS legislators assaulted Azmi when he started taking his oath in Hindi.
Jadhav said MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar had later given a letter apologising for the incident and assuring the House that his party’s MLAs would behave.
Revoking their suspension, however, led to protests from the Opposition, who claimed that the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine had done this in exchange for MNS’s votes for its candidates in the recent Legislative Council polls.
Both, Congress and NCP, managed to secure an additional seat in the Council polls.
After the polls, Raj had said he had supported the Congress-NCP candidates because he wanted the suspension of his MLAs revoked.
Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse asked the government to clarify the package deal that it had struck with the MNS.
The MNS legislators, however, were untouched by the protests.
Shishir Shinde, legislator from Bhandup, said: “Better sense prevailed and they [Congress-NCP] corrected their mistake. However we will continue to fight for the Marathi manoos.”
Pune legislator Ramesh Wanjale said the MNS will not hesitate to repeat this if anyone dared to speak against Maharashtrians.