Nineteen Maharashtra MLAs suspended for creating a ruckus during Budget Session
Shouting slogans, protesting with banners and creating a ruckus in the House proved dear for 19 of Maharashtra's Members of the Legislative Assembly.
The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs created a ruckus and shouted slogans in the House while state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the state budget for the financial year 2017-18. Opposition members shouted slogans and created disruptions all through the time the budget was being presented on 18 March. Later, the Opposition MLAs even burnt the copies of budget outside the House.
Taking a serious note of the unruly behaviour of the people’s representatives, Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde suspended the MLAs on 22 March.
The Budget Session of the Maharashtra legislature is currently on and will continue till 7 April. The suspended MLAs will not be allowed to attend the next two sessions.
Those suspended included nine MLAs from Congress and 10 from NCP. They were suspended for insulting sovereign legislature by displaying banners on the floor of the House, burning copies of the budget on legislature premises.
The Opposition MLAs, on 18 March, ignored the repeated instructions given by the Speaker asking them to maintain decorum in the House. They were demanding a crop loan waiver for farmers in Maharashtra on the lines of the assurance given by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh.
The Opposition parties had been on offensive ever since BJP made the assurance of crop loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh during their Assembly polls campaign. The agitation continued well into the Budget Session.
The Shiv Sena, which was also taking on the BJP on the same grounds, dropped out of the agitation last week putting the NCP and the Congress in a fix. The NCP, Congress were counting on the Shiv Sena to push for a no-confidence motion in the Parliament.
The Congress and NCP MLAs have been highly aggressive all along and were not ready to settle for anything less than a complete crop loan waiver.
To press for the demand, the opposition tried to stall the proceedings of the House on many occasions, but the ruling party did not give in and continued with the proceedings.
Back to business as usual
The House resumed on 22 March after a break of three days. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat moved the resolution immediately after the House resumed.
Bapat recommended suspension of 19 MLAs. Following which the Speaker of the House Haribhau Bagade ordered the suspension of these MLAs from 22 March to 31 December.
The Congress MLAs condemned the suspension and walked out of the House. “The government is not at all sensitive about farmers’ crisis in the state. Since it doesn’t want to help the farmers, the government is trying to gag the Opposition in an undemocratic way,” said the Leader of Opposition in State Legislative Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
Finance minister Sudhir Mungantivar read out the budget amidst unprecedented chaos in the House on 22 March, and said, “The suspension was well within the Constitutional framework to maintain the dignity of the House. The Opposition should have listened patiently if they wanted crop loan waiver. The Opposition parties don’t have right to allege it to be undemocratic since, when they were in power three years back, the Congress and NCP had taken similar action.”
The suspended MLAs included Amar Kale, Bhaskar Jadhav, Vijay Vadettiwar, Jitendra Awhad, Harshawardhan Sapkal, Madhusudan Kendre, Abdul Sattar, Sangram Jagtaap, Avdhut Tatkare, DP Savant, Amint Jhanak, Kunal Patil, Deepak Chavhan, Rahul Bondre, Datta Bharne, Narhari Jirval, Jaykumar Gore, Sangram Thopte and Vaibhav Pichad.
Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt in a tweet slammed the suspension calling it BJP's anti-farmer stand. The Leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde reiterated that the aggression on crop loan waiver shall not be mellowed at any cost.
“This is the double standard of the government. Crop loan waiver did not even find a mention in the entire budget. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured crop loan waiver, however, it was turned down by the ministers in the central government. This is nothing but cheating the farmers,” Munde said.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen