Ajit Pawar clears air over suspension of Maha MLAs

Nagpur: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday 'distanced' himself from controversy over suspension of nine Shiv Sena-BJP MLAs saying it was the decision of the House.

"It was a decision of the state Assembly to suspend them following uproar and disruption during presentation of the budget," Pawar said at a press conference.

The Deputy Chief Minister said since the House decided to suspend the MLAs only it can review it.

Speaker Dilip Walse Patil on Thursday suspended nine MLAs-five of Shiv Sena and Four of BJP-for disrupting the budget presentation by Pawar on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the speaker is likely to hold a meeting of group leaders of the opposition parties on Monday to review, if required, the decision of suspension.

Pawar said the opposition members had enough opportunity to raise certain issues since March 14 when the session began but they chose the time of budget presentation when people of entire state were keen to know about the budget proposals.

"It looked like they had made 'elaborate' preparations and brought banners and placards, one against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. What Sonia Gandhi has to do with state assembly, Pawar, who also holds finance portfolio, said.

Pawar said he would take up the issue with chief minister for additional funds of Rs. 250 crore needed for upcoming Cargo Hub project in Nagpur. A provision of Rs 69 crore has been made in the budget for year 2011-12 for the project.