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BJP raises audio clip issue in Maharashtra Assembly, wants Dhananjay Munde suspended

Mumbai: The ruling BJP created a ruckus on Thursday in the Maharashtra Assembly demanding the suspension of Leader of Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde over a controversial audio clip that allegedly featured his name.

A Marathi news channel on Wednesday allegedly aired an audio clip in which it was purportedly claimed that Munde, a senior NCP leader, had stalled a Calling Attention Motion in the Legislative Council in lieu of bribe.

File image of NCP leader Dhananjay Munde. PTI

File image of NCP leader Dhananjay Munde. PTI

Munde rubbished the accusations against him and alleged it was a tactic adopted by the government to divert people's attention from "core issues" plaguing the state.

The BJP MLAs vociferously raised the issue in the Assembly and demanded the suspension of Munde from the Upper House.

However, the BJP's stand was not supported by any other party, including its ally the Shiv Sena. Instead, the Shiv Sena MLAs pressed for continuing with the suspension of Prashant Paricharak, an independent MLC supporting the BJP, over his remarks last year.

BJP MLA Anil Gote led the BJP charge against Munde.

"The audio clip ran by the news channel, which has been widely circulated on social media, has a conservation of some individuals talking about managing a calling attention question and asking money for it.

"They have allegedly mentioned the names of Munde and other NCP leaders along with a senior administrative officer of Vidhan Bhavan.

"This is serious, and Munde should be suspended from the Upper House followed by an inquiry against him," Gote said.

NCP MLAs such as Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and those from the Congress took objection to the BJP taking the name of Munde, a member of the Council, in the Assembly without official permission.

There is no technical ground for demanding the suspension of Munde in the Lower House, said Pawar, a former minister.

Along with Gote, several other BJP members rushed to the well of the House and shouted slogans against Munde.

Amid the din, Speaker Haribhau Bagade adjourned the House two times.

Pawar, speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, said the BJP is playing "low level" politics and taking the conversation between two individuals on its face value.

The audio clip and claims made in it have not been verified, but still the BJP is demanding Munde's suspension, Pawar said.

"We never expected the BJP to stoop so low. It shows the BJP is least concerned about people's issues," Pawar said.

As the House reassembled around noon, Gote, while continuing his attack on Munde, made a reference to the suspension of Paricharak.

Paricharak's suspension from the Upper House was revoked on Wednesday, a move opposed by the Shiv Sena.

A former NCP leader, Paricharak had won the Council election from Solapur in 2015 as an independent and later extended support to the BJP. He was suspended a year ago for allegedly making derogatory remarks about wives of army soldiers.

Sunil Prabhu, a Sena MLA, interrupted Gote and rushed towards the Speaker's podium along with other party MLAs demanding that Paricharak's suspension be continued.

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2018 22:08 PM

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