The state assembly was adjourned Wednesday following a scuffle between the Congress and the Shiv Sena MLAs over the West Coast Refinery in Ratnagiri district of Konkan region in Maharashtra. Sena MLA Rajan Salvi and Nitesh Rane from the Congress climbed on the Speaker Haribhau Bagde’s podium and got hold of the mace. Two more Sena MLAs, Pratap Sarnaik and Sadanand Chavan also joined in.
Sena wanted to speak on the Refinery and demanded that ministers’ speech on supplementary demands be stopped. BJP, Congress and NCP stated that ministers’ reply be allowed first and then Sena can raise their matter on the Refinery.
Even as Sena ministers Eknath Shinde and Diwakar Raote tried to pacify their party members, who had walked in the well, Salvi climbed the podium. Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said, “We want to debate the West Coast Refinery. But it should be taken up after the Minister of State for Agriculture Sadabhau Khot’s reply on farmers issue.”
Congress chided Sena for showing indifference to farmers’ problems. Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said, “We wanted the house to take the Refinery issue on priority as we had to address Konkan Refinery Virodhi Sanghatan Samiti members who had arrived in Nagpur.” Sena and Congress differences over project saw disruption of the assembly for almost one hour.
After the scuffle broke out, work was adjourned for the entire day. A state legislature employee, who tried to prevent the MLAs from walking away with the mace, fell on the podium. Sources in the government said, “On Thursday, when the assembly resumes, all party leaders meeting is likely to be convened on whether action should be taken against Sena and Congress members for unruly behavior.”