Six Maharashtra legislators suspended for a year

April 1st, 2008 - 11:11 pm ICT by admin  


Mumbai, April 1 (IANS) Six legislators were suspended for a year after they created mayhem in the Maharashtra assembly Tuesday and injured the presiding officer in the house. The legislators are: Arjun Khotkar (Shiv Sena), Raj Purohit and Sanjay Kute (both Bharatiya Janata Party-BJP), Wamanrao Chatap (Swatantra Bharat Paksha) and two independents supporting the Democratic Front government, Bachchu Kadu and Sanjay Chavan.

The legislators were angry when the presiding officer in the evening, Chandrakant Chhajed, did not permit them to speak on certain issues.

They rushed to the well of the house and then to the speaker’s podium and started throwing the books and stationery placed there.

The resolution to suspend the members moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil was passed by a majority voice vote.

Leader of Opposition Ramdas Kadam described the action as partisan, saying that the ruling Congress party members who disturbed the house proceedings were spared while opposition members, who were not involved in the incident according to him, were punished.

A Congress legislator and a former minister who witnessed the development told IANS that a heavy book hit the presiding officer on the face and he sustained minor injuries on his nose.

“Yes, I have been injured slightly, but I am alright now,” Chhajed told IANS.

Sounding weary, Chhajed said that a few legislators were suspended for a period of six months around six years ago. “At that time, they had damaged the furniture in the house, and uprooted the electrical fittings,” he said.

Refusing to express regret for the indecent behaviour, suspended member Kadu described the manner in which the presiding officer was conducting the business as “one-sided democracy in which the favoured members of the ruling coalition are allowed to speak for as long as an hour while the junior opposition members are not given even five minutes to raise burning problems of their constituencies”.

While suspension of members for shorter periods of time is not uncommon in the Maharashtra legislature, suspension for such a long period is extremely rare.

Old timers in the legislature recalled the suspension of “Vidarbha Veer” Jambuvantrao Dhote for the entire term in 1963 when he had hurled a paperweight at the then speaker.

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