Maha monsoon session off to noisy start
Mumbai: The monsoon session of Maharashtra Legislature commenced here today amid noisy scenes by Opposition members on key issues including the recent state secretariat building fire.
Speaker Dilip Walse Patil announced that the House would discuss the Mantralaya fire issue tomorrow.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the government was ready for a full-fledged debate on the blaze that gutted top floors of the secretariat building. "We are willing to discuss all points," he said.
Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse demanded that the House take up the discussion under Rule 97 of the House today itself.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshwardhan Patil said the Speaker should give a ruling, considering the views of both the government and the Opposition.
The Speaker then adjourned the House for 15 minutes and called party group leaders for a discussion in his chamber.
When the House proceedings commenced again, noisy Opposition members insisted that the debate be held today.
The Speaker announced that he was adjourning the House for the day. The debate on fire would take place tomorrow, he said.
When proceedings began earlier today, the Legislative Assembly was adjourned for an hour amid noisy scenes by Opposition members who shouted slogans and unfurled banners demanding a statement by the Chief Minister on the fire.
They also raised slogans on the Adarsh scam and demanded that the government should punish those involved in the multi-crore scam.
Opposition leader Eknath Khadse said there were doubts in minds of people that the fire was not an accident but "a deliberate act." Similar sentiments were expressed by Sena group leader Subhash Desai.
Five people were killed in the blaze but no criminal offence has been registered against anyone so far, Desai said.
The Opposition members also squatted on the stairs of the Vidhan Bhawan main entrance seeking action on issues like Maharashtra Karnataka border dispute, spate of female foeticides and farmers' suicides.