RUCKUS PREVAILED in the Maharashtra Assembly on Saturday as BJP attempted to expose the cracks in the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR).
A discussion on the budgetary grants for 2020-21 was disrupted after the Treasury and the Opposition benches locked horns over the issue. Saturday was the last day of the current session, which has been curtailed amid the spread of Covid-19.
Trouble erupted in the House after Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, while discussing budgetary grants, accused “some of the ministers” in the state of stoking fear among minorities.
Fadnavis said there was no provision in the CAA to take away anyone’s citizenship, but a “misinformation campaign” had been undertaken against it.
“It is the responsibility of the state government to clear the air in this regard. But some ministers of the government are themselves stoking fear and spreading confusion. How are they being allowed to speak out against a national legislation? The government must gag them against the same,” said Fadnavis.
Senior ministers, especially those belonging to NCP and Shiv Sena, repeatedly interrupted Fadnavis’ speech, contending that a discussion on CAA was beyond the scope of the discussion.
“This is an independent issue. It has nothing to do with budgetary grants,” said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.
When Fadnavis argued that the “rumours being spread” had created a law and order issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab, who belongs to Sena, countered. “Riots have taken place in BJP-ruled states. We haven’t seen a single incident. You (BJP) are trying to pollute the atmosphere in the state,” he said.
NCP’s Nawab Malik and Chaggan Bhujbal later read out legislative rules, seeking the chair’s ruling that Fadnavis should not be permitted to speak over the issue. The din in the house intensified after Bhujbal made an “objectionable” remark, with the BJP members storming into the well.
Assembly Speaker Nana Patole adjourned the House for 30 minutes. During the break, group leaders of all parties held a meeting. When the proceedings resumed, Patole ruled that “objectionable” remarks made on both sides stood expunged.
While he ruled that Fadnavis shouldn’t speak on the issue further, the Opposition leader concluded his speech criticising the coalition for not acting against former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid, alleging that the latter, while addressing a gathering in Amravati, had exhorted people to come out on the streets during US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to India.
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