The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly revoked the suspension of four MNS legislators, who had allegedly assaulted Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi for defying their leader Raj Thackeray’s diktat of taking oath as members in Marathi. Minister for State for Parliamentary Affairs Bhaskar Jadhav, moved the resolution seeking revocation of the four year suspension. The House passed the resolution by a voice vote. The four MNS MLAs Shishir Shinde, Ram Kadam, Ramesh Wanjale and Vasant Gite were suspended from the membership of the House for a period of four years on November 9, 2009 for assaulting SP MLA Abu Azmi when he was taking oath as member in Hindi. Bhaskar Jadhav informed the house that MNS group leader Bala Nandgaonkar had given a letter apologizing for the incident and promised good behaviour by the four MLAs. Leader of opposition Eknath Khadse demanded that the government explain the “package deal” that took place between the MNS and the government for facilitating revocation of the suspension. The opposition alleged that the government was indulging in “political blackmailing”. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, while rejecting charge of political blackmailing, said the opposition was leveling allegations. Echoing the Chief Minister’s statement, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil denied reports that the Thackeray-led party had voted for the ruling coalition in last month’s biennial Legislative Council polls and pointed out that they were held through secret ballot. Abu Azmi, who wanted to speak on the issue, was not allowed permission by the Chair following which he and his SP colleagues staged a walkout. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
December 31, 2015