Maharshtra Assembly adjourned over Minister's absence



Nagpur: The treasury benches in the state Assembly were on Friday embarrassed when Speaker Dilip Walse Patil adjourned the House for 10 minutes as Opposition created noisy scenes over the absence of concerned minister to reply to the issue of crop losses.

During Question Hour, the Speaker called for third question from Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) and others over losses to crops due to scarcity of rains.

However, Rehabilitation Minister Patangrao Kadam and Minister of State for Revenue Prakash Solanki were not present in the House to reply.

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse then got up and demanded immediate adjournment of the House.

He criticised the treasury benches for neglecting the most important issue of crop losses, as drought-like situation was prevailing in the state.

Opposition members Girish Mahajan (BJP) and others trooped into the well of the House and denounced the government for giving casual treatment to the questions and the issue.

They also demanded an apology from the government.

The Speaker then adjourned the House for 10 minutes.

When the House re-assembled, Solanki came inside and tried to give a reply. But by that time, the Opposition mounted pressure prompting the Speaker to withhold the question.

Kadam entered the House and said the question was to be replied by the Agriculture Ministry and he had forwarded it to the concerned minister (Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil) three days ago. He informed that earlier he was in the Upper House.

However, this did not satisfy the Opposition who again demanded apology from the treasury benches.

Home Minister R R Patil tried to intervene but Opposition did not allow him. He, however, apologised on behalf of the ruling combine.

At this juncture, the Speaker said he would soon convene a meeting of secretaries of agriculture and rehabilitation along with the Chief Secretary to ensure that the transfer of question was done properly and not just by forwarding it.

Almost 30 minutes time of the Question Hour was lost.

PTI