The state legislative council was thrown out of gear on Thursday, with the Opposition creating an uproar after BJP Minister of State Dilip Kamble made certain ‘objectionable remarks’ that were later expunged.
Calling the incident “extremely shameful,” Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, chairman of the state legislative council, conceded to the Opposition’s demand of not going ahead with the planned agenda until there was an apology from the treasury benches, that too by BJP’s Eknath Khadse, the Leader of the House. Khadse finally ‘expressed regret’ over the issue.
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The incident took place during the question hour when Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Amarsinh Pandit demanded that the state ban an institution in Beed district over alleged irregularities in disbursement of scholarships to students.
Kamble, Minister of State for Social Justice, replied that only Rs 900 had not been disbursed, an amount that the institution returned to the state. He said there was no need to ban a good institution from a scheme for such a small reason, and made an objectionable comment when the opposition protested against the reply.
NCP leaders Jaywant Jadhav and Narendra Patil nearly came to blows with Kamble, and several other legislators had to restrain both the NCP leaders as well as Kamble. Chairman Nimbalkar adjourned the House for both parties to cool down.
After reconvening the House, Nimbalkar said, “In 20 years of my political career, even as a minister, not just in the council but even in the legislative assembly, I have never seen a minister give such a reply to any legislator. This is extremely shameful. I know the minister personally, and it wasn’t expected from him. I am going to expunge whatever he has said from the records, and I direct the minister of state to apologise to the House.”
However, opposition members said they would not be satisfied with just Kamble’s apology. Congress’s Shivajirao Deshmukh, former chairman of the legislative council, said, “It is every member’s responsibility to maintain decorum in the House, and it is the right of every member of this House to ask questions. When a Minister of State replies like this, it is not only him who should be made accountable. It should be the entire cabinet’s responsibility, and hence the Leader of the House should apologise.”
The House was adjourned several times through the day with opposition members refusing to carry on with the listed business till Khadse delivered an apology.
The BJP minister ultimately entered the upper house at 4.10 pm, and said, “The incident should not have happened. Both sides should show some more patience in the house. I have given directions to everyone that such incidents should not happen again. I express my regret over the incident.”