November 9, 2009 7:23:27 pm
Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Monday suspended four MNS members for four years on charges of assaulting SP MLA Abu Asim Azmi,who took the oath in Hindi against their party leader Raj Thackeray’s diktat,and misbehaving with a woman legislator.
Patil described as “most condemnable” the conduct of the newly elected MNS MLAs — Shishir Shinde,Ram Kadam,Ramesh Wanzale and Vasant Gite — and said it was against the highest tradition of the House.
“This act had tarnished the image of the august House and hence amounts to breach of privilege,” Patil said.
MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar took objection to the resolution and said it was Azmi who had provoked his colleagues and demanded action against the SP leader.
Nandgaonkar said the MNS had highest regard for women and that its members had “not misbehaved” with any woman MLA. The MNS leader said he was offering an apology if any action of his party MLAs had hurt any woman member of the assembly.
PWP MLA Minakshi Patil,who was present near Azmi when the MNS members assaulted him,was allegedly pushed in the melee.
MNS MLA Shishir Shinde described the resolution for suspension as “unjust”. “Indira Gandhi’s example is before me.
She too was suspended from the Parliament by sheer force of majority. But,she ruled the hearts of Indians and rode back to power from Chikmaglur. I will win again by over one lakh votes,” Shinde asserted.
Shinde was not present in the house when his name was called thrice for taking oath as member.
Eknath Khadse,the BJP group leader,called for a sympathetic view of the entire incident. “Nobody supports what happened on Monday. But,there is nothing wrong in checking the footage again to verify the MNS claim that it was Azmi who had provoked them through his body language,” he said.
He said since it was the first day of the new house,a lenient view should be taken.
Out of the four MNS MLAs,Ram Kadam and Shishir Shinde did not take the oath.
Earlier,Khadse sought clarification from the government on what he termed as “a riot-like” situation in Bhiwandi following the incident.
Home Minister R R Patil informed the House that Samajwadi party workers had allegedly pelted stones at buses in protest and that six of them were arrested. “Nobody would be allowed to take law into their hands,” he asserted.
BJP member Girish Bapat took oath in Sanskrit as Madhukar Pichad chaired the proceedings.
However,when another BJP member Girish Mahajan started taking oath in Sanskrit,Pro-tem Speaker Ganpat Deshmukh objected,saying as per article 210 of the constitution and Rule 22 of the Legislative assembly,a member can take oath in his mother tongue only if he is not well-versed in Marathi,Hindi or English.
Bapat and some BJP members objected to Deshmukh’s ruling,charging the chair was insulting Sanskrit and pointed out that they had always taken oath in Sanskrit.
To this Deshmukh said the issue did not arise earlier because nobody had objected. “It is only now that the issue of which language a member should take oath in has come up,” he said.
When informed that earlier Madhukar Pichad had allowed Girish Bapat to take oath in Sanskrit,Deshmukh relented and also granted permission to Mahajan.
Congress member Annie Shekhar struggled to read out her oath in Marathi and after she completed,she was applauded for her effort by the treasury Benches.
Congress member Amin Patel said he was comfortable speaking in Marathi and could have taken oath in the language,but was doing so in Hindi as a mark of protest against Azmi’s assault.
Ramsingh Thakur of Congress said he would take oath in both Hindi and Marathi but was disallowed. He then took oath in Hindi only.
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