The Maharashtra Assembly Session was adjourned for the day on Wednesday amid heavy sloganeering over Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut calling the legislature a “chormandal” (body of thieves).
Earlier in the day, Mr. Raut called the “vidhimandal” (legislature) a “chormandal” (a body of thieves), triggering uproar in both Houses of the Assembly.
Mr. Raut was pilloried by the ruling and the Opposition members. The BJP legislator, Atul Bhatkalkar, submitted a breach of privilege notice against Mr. Raut for his remarks. The BJP’s Mumbai unit chief and MLA, Ashish Shelar, who raised the issue as soon as the House assembled for the day, termed Shiv Sena (UBT) MP’s remarks as “anti-Maharashtra” and “anti-National”, and demanded immediate action against him. “The lawmakers are being called thieves and it is an insult to the State,” he said.
The BJP and Shinde-led Sena legislators also demanded Mr. Raut’s arrest.
While the Leader of the Opposition and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar said that if it (Mr. Raut’s remark) had been uttered, the House could take appropriate action. Mr. Pawar’s NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) are allies.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Balasaheb Thorat also said that such remarks were unacceptable. “There is a need to check what actually has been said. At the same time, everyone should be careful what words are spoken in the House. We have also been called ‘anti-nationals’,” Mr. Thorat said.
When the House was assembled after being adjourned a total of four times— for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively, Speaker Rahul Narvekar said he accepted a notice of breach of privilege against the Rajya Sabha MP and would give his decision on it on March 8.
“This issue is very serious and an insult to the legislature, its members, the people of the State and to the Consitution. The lawmakers are being called thieves and it is an insult to the State. A detailed inquiry is required into the matter,” he said.
However, the members gathered near the podium and continued slogans against Mr. Raut. As a result, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier, Opposition MLAs staged a protest on the Maharashtra Assembly premises against inflation and the recent hike in LPG cylinder prices. They also demanded 12 hours of free power supply to the State’s farmers.
In the Legislative Council, the Leader of the Opposition and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, Ambadas Danve, submitted a breach of privilege notice against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for allegedly referring to the Opposition legislators as “anti-national”.
He said that Mr. Shinde’s comments made on the eve of the Budget Session, were an insult to the supremacy of the legislature.
On Sunday, when the Opposition boycotted the customary tea party hosted by the Chief Minister, Mr. Shinde allegedly said, “It is good that they didn’t come as it saved us from having tea with anti-nationals.”