Maharashtra Assembly works till midnight on Monday; Congress says BJP-Shiv Sena forced overtime to protect BMC candidate

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Assembly witnessed unprecedented ruckus as the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena stretched the working of the House till midnight with opposition parties alleging that it was in order to clear a bill that would save a Sena candidate for the BMC bypolls from disqualification.

At 10 pm, Protem-Speaker Yogesh Sagar had almost announced the adjournment of the Assembly proceedings for the day but just then state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat intervened.

Bapat asked the Protem-Speaker to continue the proceedings and clear two bills which were scheduled for discussion on Monday. This infuriated the Opposition Congress and the NCP with the latter's Bhaskar Jadhav alleging that the rules were being bent for political gain.

"The Protem-Speaker had already announced an adjournment then how can the BJP-Sena continue to run the House?" Jadhav asked.

Congress MLAs Jaykumar Gore and Virendra Jagtap also objected to Sagar reversing his decision.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Dhananjay Munde, NCP Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, alleged that the Sion bypoll was going to be contested by a Shiv Sena candidate and BJP had decided to support the Sena. "The Maharashtra Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council Amendment Bill 2018 was supposed to be cleared today in the Assembly. This Bill allows a candidate to submit his caste validity certificate till the last date of scrutiny instead of submitting it at the time of filing his nomination," he informed.

"This would give some breathing space to the Shiv Sena candidate. Hence the BJP and Sena MLAs insisted on running the House till it gets cleared," Munde told PTI outside the Assembly. He said that even if the amendment was passed in the Lower House, it would have to come up for discussion in the Council where the Congress-NCP was in a majority.

Earlier, Bapat defended the decision claiming that Sagar had not announced the adjournment and, therefore, it could not be considered that the House was adjourned. Speaking on the floor of the House, he said, "I am a law abiding member of this House and I have never ever violated any rule here. I respect the proceedings and traditions of the House."

NCP MLA Balasaheb Patil said outside the Assembly that the turn of events was disappointing and unfortunate.

Meanwhile, Independent MLA Bacchu Kadu, in a mark of protest at not being allowed to speak on an issue, lifted the sceptre placed before the Speaker. Despite being asked by Bapat to wait till some bills were cleared, Kadu climbed up and lifted the sceptre.

Marshals in the House, along with local officials, rushed in and placed the sceptre back in its place.

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Updated Date: Mar 20, 2018 08:01:29 IST

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