Furore in Maharashtra State Assembly
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Furore in Maharashtra State Assembly

The Assembly saw fracas when various parties split hairs over House rules and a mock funeral was taken out.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 20:42 IST

On Tuesday - a day after the Assembly was rocked on the Khairlangi Dalit massacre - it was the turn of the issue of farmers’ suicide in Vidarbha region that threw the state Assembly in turmoil. The Opposition challenged the governing of DF government over a spate of suicides by the state’s farmers and forced the chair to adjourn the House four times.

It all started when the House assembled in the morning. The leader of the Opposition, Ramdas Kadam raised the issue and urged the speaker, Babasaheb Kupekar to take an adjournment motion under the House rules of 57 and 97 and suspend the question hour.

The minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Harshawardhan Patil said that the government was willing to hold discussions and urged the speaker to give a direction in this regard. But the minister made it clear that the discussion would be under the rule of 101, instead of 57 and 97.

This probably caught the opposition on the wrong foot as they were arguing for holding discussions only under the rule of 57 and 97. It seems that most of them were reluctant to debate the issue as their leader, Gopinath Munde was not in the House. Munde went to Khairlangi this morning to get first-hand information about the brutal Dalit killings in the village.

The Opposition was continuously insisting that the issue be discussed under the rule of 57 only. After over 30 minutes of debate and counter-debate the opposition members went to the well of the House and raised slogans against the government. They even threw pieces of papers in the air and raised banners on the suicides.

While intervening in the matter, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was present there, urged the opposition leader, Kadam to not go into such technicalities and initiate discussion.

However, the opposition was not ready to listen and took out a mock funeral of a dead farmer in the House. When they reached the treasury benches, members from the ruling alliance tried to stop them. The speaker Kupekar warned them of stern action and urged the opposition leader to pacify them. Later, Kadam intervened and told the agitators to give up their mock funeral.

Taking strong exception to the incident, the NCP member Nawab Malik demanded those members be suspended who took out the mock-funeral. While citing an example when Dattaji Nalawade was the speaker of the House, he justified the demand.

The Parliamentary Affairs minister, Patil moved a resolution of suspension of 10 opposition members for their indiscipline and for disturbing the decorum of the House. However, the speaker could not give a ruling in this regard. Meanwhile, the chief minister urged the leader of the Opposition, Kadam to apologise on behalf of the erring members. When Kadam refused to do so, the chief minister himself expressed regrets about the incident on behalf of leader of the House.

As the speaker did not take the issue under the rule of 57, the BJP and Sena members of the House staged a stormy walk-out for the day.

Later, while talking to Hindustan Times, Patil said that the Speaker reserved his ruling against erring opposition members.

Pradip Kumar Maitra pradipmaitra@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 19:15 IST