mansoon-session-1The state monsoon session started off with the Congress honoring its council poll promise to MNS Chief Raj Thackeray. The house revoked the suspension of 4 MNS MLAs on the first day of the monsoon session itself. The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra has honoured its pre-poll promise made to MNS Chief Raj Thackeray by revoking the suspension of four MNS legislators on the first day of the session itself. MNS legislators Shishir Shinde, Ramesh Wanjle, Ram Kadam, and Vasant Geete were suspended last year for assaulting Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Azmi in the Legislative Assembly. As was expected the allegations were bound to be. Samajwadi Party MP Abu Azmi condemned the decision of the state. Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse termed the act as political blackmailing. While MNS MLA Bala Nandgaonkar termed satisfaction that their colleagues were back in the house. While the state defended the move stating that nobody knew who voted for whom in the secret ballot. The revocation of suspension has brought back the MNS strength to 13 in the Assembly. The timing of the move to revoke the suspension, however, caught many by surprise. While the move establishes that there are no ethics and principles in politics, it has also exposed the double standards of the Congress party ahead of the state polls in Bihar and UP. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News. KARNATAKA BORDER ROW SPLITS OPPOSITION WHILE CHIEF MINISTER ASHOK CHAVAN SCORES The Karnataka border issue formed the major subject of debate and discussions in the later days of the week. There were adjournments, slogans and protest over the affidavit submitted by the Congress ruled Center to the Supreme Court. Yet at the end of the day, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan scored over the opposition while there was a clear divide between the Shiv Sena and BJP. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s handling of the border dispute helped the Congress score brownie points and split the Shiv Sena-BJP combine in the state. While CM Ashok Chavan successfully proved that all parties are united and have the same say, the Sena BJP split was apparent as the Sena vowed to continue its fiery agitations while the BJP, cannot do much as their party is ruling in Karnataka. When questioned by the media Opposition Leader Eknath Khadse could only say that to Sena their stance and to him – BJP’s. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan decided to play an active role in taking the matter up with the Centre. An all party delegation that included the Opposition Leader Eknath Khadse met the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in Delhi. However the demand of a Union Territory was not brought up during the meeting with the Prime Minister. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan also got the MPCC to rally round and strengthen their case at the Centre. However the on going tussle between the Congress and NCP once again came to the fore with former Speaker and NCP MLA Babasaheb Kupekar stating that the Chief Minister’s visit to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister was baseless as the matter is in Supreme Court. Soon after Babasaheb Kupekar’s controversial statement, NCP was quick to do damage control. The NCP’s Dy. Chief Minister had to come to do damage control. Chagan Bhujbal justified the visit to the Prime Minister. Shiv Sena MLA Sarnaik walked in the state assembly with two glass boxes with maps of the two states and Octo-Paul to choose which state Belgaum will belong to. No matter what Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik thought of while bringing this, it seemed rather inconsiderate and insensitive. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News. EDUCATION MINISTER HEAVES A SIGH OF RELIEF AS “BEST OF FIVE” STAYS The Supreme Court’s judgement in the Best of 5 is a thoughtful and balanced one. Students from all boards – ICSE, CBSE and SSC – will benefit from it and no one will be at a disadvantage. The Supreme Court has let the Best Five policy stay. At the same time, ICSE students can also use their own best five marks now. If the Supreme Court order had allowed the policy without changes, ICSE and CBSE students would not have been had that benefit. They also have the option to stick to the old system of calculating the aggregate of all seven subjects if they do not wish to take the best five. With this the Supreme Court resolved the problem to the advantage of all parties. And no points for guessing that post the Supreme Court order, the State Education Minister Balasaheb Thorat was a relieved man. The Minister, who has faced much criticism over the legal tangle, said he was glad the state could finally implement the policy and extend it to ICSE students as well. This decision will reduce stress for students, claimed the Minister. Balasaheb Thorat also shared the lesson he had learnt from the delay. Henceforth, the State Education Ministry will not take new decisions after December. Junior college admissions have started on – so Balasaheb Thorat’s next big challenge is – online admissions. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News. ASSEMBLY ADJOURNED THRICE ON JAMES LAINE BOOK ISSUE Another subject that led to heated arguments and adjournments was the James Laine issue. The session was adjourned thrice over the ban of the James Laine controversial book: Shivaji: The Hindu King in Islamic India. However what set tongues wagging and created ruffles within the NCP was that Home Minister R R Patil asked his party MLA to retract from making a statement that R R Patil too had made way back in 2004. NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad said that the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had said that it was not correct to bring a ban on any book. This statement of Awhad triggered a huge uproar from the BJP members in the assembly. To pacify them, Home Minister R R Patil, also of the NCP, asked Awhad to retract his statement. He also requested the speaker that the statement be not recorded. However what was interesting was that R R Patil himself referred to this very statement by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on March 14, 2004 in the state assembly.

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