THE STATE Legislative Council witnessed high drama on Friday with NCP leader Sunil Tatkare threatening to commit suicide in the House after his verbal exchange with PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil over the Opposition’s allegations that around one lakh geography textbooks of Class VI had some pages printed in Gujarati instead of Marathi. Raising the issue in the House, Tatkare said that some geography textbooks for Marathi medium, sold in Mashal tahsil of Raigad district, were found to have pages in Gujarati. The book is published by Balbharati, a state government body.
Alleging that the dignity of Marathi language was being lowered by the government, Leader of Opposition in the Council, Dhananjay Munde, said the books were printed by an Ahmedabad-based company, which, he claimed was indicative of the state government’s servitude towards Gujarat. Patil, the leader of the House, said that there could be a few isolated prints with Gujarati pages but it was done inadvertently. He also carried a copy of the book to the House, which did not have the pages printed in Gujarati.
The ensuing high decibel debate led to an adjournment for 45 minutes. When the House reassembled, Munde again alleged that the government was surrendering before Gujarat. “Howsoever you may try to do that, we will not allow this insult to Marathi,” he said.
To this, Patil said, “I am saying that some Gujarati pages may have inadvertently got into a few copies.” Munde, however, claimed that there were about one lakh such copies. Patil then said, “I can say that you yourself might have inserted some Gujarati pages in that book.” On this, Munde said:
“I can also say that you have probably torn out those pages from the copy that you have.” This led to more ruckus, forcing a second adjournment. When the House reassembled, the issue was again brought up. Neelam Gore of the Shiv Sena and Bhai Jagtap of the Congress said that whether inadvertent or otherwise, the issue must be investigated.
Tatkare then stood up and challenged Patil to prove his allegation. “In my 30 years of political career, I haven’t faced such an allegation. If it is proved that I have inserted those pages in the textbook, I will commit suicide by consuming poison inside the House,” he said.
Following this, Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar directed the government to issue a clarification on the matter on Monday and adjourned the House for the day.