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The Maharashtra Legislative Council was adjourned on Tuesday after members cutting across party lines demanded termination of membership of Independent MLC Prashant Paricharak for allegedly making insulting remarks on wives of soldiers.
On the second day, the members closed ranks against the BJP-backed MLC whose remarks had kicked up a huge row last month.
Raising the issue, the Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said around 3000 family members of soldiers had held a protest against Paricharak’s comments this morning.
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“Until his membership is terminated, we cannot let the House function. If we do, a wrong message will be sent. When soldiers go out to protect the nation, it is the responsibility of the government as well as citizens to safeguard their families,” Munde said.
A strong message should be sent across so that nobody can pass demeaning remarks on soldiers and get away with that, he said.
Joining the debate on the issue, Shiv Sena’s Neelam Gorhe said the government should have taken cognisance of the issue and initiated action against Paricharak.
“What would the government have done if somebody else had made the remarks? Had somebody from Pakistan had said this, we would have said we will teach them a lesson. If a lesson is not given to him (the MLC) now and his membership of the house is not terminated, people may say we are hypocritic,” she said.
Citing a precedent in Parliament, Congress’s Sharad Ranpise said there are rules under which strong action can be taken against Paricharak.
Intervening in the debate, Leader of the House and Cooperation Minister Chandrakant Patil said the incident was condemnable.
“We do not support him at all. We have to sit together and take a decision on the issue. However, a message that the government is being persuaded to take action against him (Paricharak) should not go out,” Patil said.
Narayan Rane (Congress) said there was no need for a discussion and that immediate action should be taken against the MLC.
Ashok alias Bhai Jagtap (Congress) said it was a “transparent crime against the country and against those protecting the nation.”
The Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar said irrespective of the party to which Paricharak belongs, ethics should be upheld.
“This is a very serious issue because it concerns those who shed their blood for us. We all are comfortably sitting in ACs only because of our soldiers,” he said, adding that the issue needed to be considered seriously.
“It seems that a meeting with the CM cannot be held over the issue, but I do not see any opposition from the ruling party as well (on taking action against Paricharak).
The CM should give time for the issue and come to a conclusion. The House stands adjourned till tomorrow,” the Chair ordered.
Addressing a rally in Solapur in run-up to the local bodies elections last month, Paricharak had said, “A soldier gets a telegram from his wife that she has delivered a baby and he distributes sweets to his colleagues on the border, though he has not visited him home for a whole year.”