Maharashtra: Shiv Sena left high and dry after BJP backs suspension of 19 opposition MLAs

Mumbai: Distance between the two ruling alliance partners in Maharashtra — the Shiv Sena and the BJP — is increasing by the day as lack of proper communication and coordination is leading to visible confusion.

On Wednesday, when the BJP legislators turned out in numbers to back the decision of Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde, who suspended 19 opposition MLAs for creating a ruckus on the state Budget day, Shiv Sena had no clue about the development and only two of its MLAs were present.

Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray in file photos. Getty Images

Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray in file photos. Getty Images

The BJP issued a whip to its MLAs to attend the special meeting that was held at 10 am on Wednesday.

The glaring lack of communication between the two parties was evident for the second time with the first being when the land handover ceremony for the former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray memorial land was held at the Shivaji Park. Only one Shiv Sena MLA had turned out for the event with the BJP quick to take credit for the grant.

With the opposition MLAs resorting to disruptive tactics like displaying banners on the floor of the House when the Budget speech of Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar was on, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat presented the proposal seeking the suspension of the 19 MLAs for their unruly behaviour. During the Budget day speech, these MLAs had raised slogans demanding loan waiver for farmers. Some members had even raised banners inside the house, while some burnt copies of Budget outside the house in Vidhan Bhawan campus.

Bagde suspended 19 opposition MLAs till 31 December 2017 for insulting the House. Out of the 19 suspended MLAs, 10 belong to the NCP while nine are from the Congress. However, the Shiv Sena which was taken by surprise had too little time to decide which side they are on.

Despite the initial jolt, senior ministers from the Shiv Sena after receiving instructions from party supremo Uddhav Thackeray met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking revocation of the suspension.

The Shiv Sena delegation pointed out to Fadnavis that the suspension was not legal. The proposal for the suspension was made after the House met after a three-day recess.

"We are not sad over the suspension, but the way the government is trying to silence the voice for farmers is worrying," said NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, who was suspended.

The state government, however, justified its action. "No one has the right to burn copies of the State Budget. They were objecting without even listening to the Budget speech," said Mungantiwar.

However, opposition party leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and NCP leader Ajit Pawar sought that the suspensions be revoked immediately otherwise threatening to boycott the ongoing session entirely.

The Budget session of the Assembly ends on 7 April.

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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2017 22:25:40 IST

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