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Govt’s flip-flop thwarts debate on irrigation scam

While CM promises to revoke the suspension of 3 legislators soon,NCP uses it to avert debate on irrigation scam

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 9, 2014 2:40 pm

Congress and NCP appear divided on the issue of allowing a debate on the irrigation scam during the ongoing Monsoon Session.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s attempt to resolve the deadlock to resume work in the state Assembly was thwarted by the NCP leadership in the Legislative Council. The House had been witnessing uproarious scenes over the suspension of three legislators for bad behaviour.

MLA Praveen Darekar (MNS) and MLC Diwakar Raote (Shiv Sena) were suspended last week,while another Sena MLA Omraje Nimbalkar had invited suspension during the Budget Session in March-April.

Highly placed sources indicated that the NCP leadership was trying to delay the process of the withdrawal of Raote’s suspension. Though the decision to withdraw his suspension order rests with Legislative Council Chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh,NCP leadership feels any insult to the constitutional post of chairman could not be justified and the Opposition member who committed the mistake had to serve the punishment.

Chavan finds himself pitted against the alliance partner and the Opposition. Sources in the CMO said Chavan was not in favour of suspending any member,but had to go by the majority view at the internal meeting.

Now,his attempts to immediately withdraw the suspensions to enable smooth running of the Houses is being scuttled by a section of the NCP. “They could have made the members apologise instead of ordering their suspension,” said a source.

Chavan said on Tuesday: “The government is positively considering the withdrawal of suspension of all three members in the state Assembly and Legislative Council. In a couple of days,we will take the positive decision.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil made an identical statement in the Legislative Council,hoping to resume work in the House. But Leader of the Opposition Vinod Tawde said: “Unless the suspension order against Raote is withdrawn,we will not allow any work. The Opposition members staged a walkout.”

Raote was suspended last week following an altercation with Deshmukh. He,however,tendered a written apology later. According to Opposition members,the NCP is “deliberately mounting pressure on the Congress” not to withdraw the suspension to avert discussion on irrigation scam.

The debate was scheduled in the council on Tuesday.

Sources said the Opposition should understand that once the chief minister had given commitment,the suspension orders against Raote would be revoked.

MNS MLA Darekar was suspended last week for abusing Chavan,while Sena MLA Nimbalkar was suspended during the Budget Session for running away with the mace from the Speaker’s podium.

Earlier,a senior NCP leader said: “Why should we withdraw Raote’s suspension,when Sena and BJP had decided to bring a no-confidence motion against Deshmukh? Are they willing to withdraw the motion?”

Raote,however,said: “It is a ploy on part of the government to avoid a debate on the irrigation scam. And they are using all pretexts to blame the Opposition to cover up their own failures.”

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