‘Ajit Pawar dissuaded CM from apologising’
Proceedings in the Maharashtra Legislature came to a halt for the third day on Wednesday over Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar’s contumely, with the Opposition demanding an apology from Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan over his Deputy’s remarks.
Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena questioned Mr. Chavan’s absence and insisted that he apologise for his Deputy’s crass remarks made at a public function in Indapur tehsil on April 6.
“It’s been three days since the Chief Minister has presented himself in the Assembly,” said Leader of the Opposition Eknath Khadse, as Opposition leaders stormed the well, compelling Speaker Dilip Walse–Patil to adjourn proceedings for the day. Similar scenes were witnessed in the Upper House as well.
Mr. Khadse alleged that while the Chief Minister was willing to apologise, certain forces (read the NCP) were preventing him from doing so.
According to sources, Mr. Pawar and Home Minister and R.R. Patil dissuaded Mr. Chavan from tendering an apology as the NCP feared that the Congress would steal a moral march on them.
However, PCC president Manikrao Thakre said the Congress had nothing to do with the affair and that there was no need for Mr. Chavan to apologise, especially after Mr. Pawar had already apologised thrice.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshawardhan Patil also said, amid the bedlam in the Assembly, that as Mr. Pawar had already apologised, the matter should end there.
Meanwhile, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena staged demonstrations in the city and across the State, demanding Mr. Pawar’s resignation and burning effigies and posters.
The Shiv Sena too held angry demonstrations. In the party mouthpiece, Saamana, an editorial demanded that a case of sedition be registered against Mr. Pawar and that he be sacked from the ministry. The Sena criticised NCP chief Sharad Pawar also for not reprimanding his nephew severely enough.