The state legislative council touched a new low on Thursday when minister of state for social justice Dilip Kamble (BJP) threatened Opposition members to settle disagreements outside the House. The incident rocked proceedings of the House, resulting in half a dozen adjournments as members were demanding an apology by revenue minister Eknath Khadse as the leader of the Upper House.
Calling it ‘a black day in the history of the state legislature’ Dhananjay Munde, leader of the Opposition, said Kamble threatened Opposition members despite the fact that no personal allegations were made. “Hee dadagiri aahe’ (This is hooliganism),” Munde said.
While chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar said he had never seen such behaviour of a minister in the legislature in his political career. Later, Khadse expressed regret over the minister’s behaviour and said the government will ensure such incidents do not occur again in future.
Before that, the chairman also expunged the entire spat from the proceedings of the House.
It all started during question hour, when NCP legislator Amarsingh Pandit raised questions over the non-distribution of allowance under Savitribai Phule scheme for girl students. The debate later turned into exchanges between Kamble and Opposition members. Kamble, in a fit of rage, dared them to settle the scores outside the House.
The chairman also called the incident ‘shameful’ and said the decorum of the House needed to be maintained.
He further directed the minister to apologise for his behaviour. But former chairman and senior Congress legislator Shivajirao Deshmukh argued that as collective responsibility, the leader of the House (Eknath Khadse) should be called to apologise on behalf of the state government.
This led to several rounds of adjournments and finally after 4pm, Khadse came to express regret over the incident. “The incident should not have happened. The minister is not expected to behave like that in any case. I express regret over what has happened,” Khadse said.
He said directives have been given to all the ministers to maintain dignity of the House.