BJP, NCP spar on including farmer deaths in condolence motion

Chaos ensued in the Maharashtra Legislative Council in Mumbai on Wednesday after Opposition NCP demanded that farmers' suicides be included in the condolence motion moved by State Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse.

As the Council assembled to pay tributes to the departed leaders, Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde said that as a tribute to farmers who have committed suicide in the last one year, the House should pay its respects to them as well.

Objecting to his demand, Khadse said that most farmers had committed suicide during the tenure of the Congress and the NCP government and thus, if they were so concerned about farmers' suicides, they should have started the practice while they were in power. "3228 farmers have committed suicide in the past one year and the number is only growing. They may have committed suicides for various reasons and I do not intend to blame anybody. But I ask, how should we be held responsible for this ?" Munde said.

"It is only fair to them that this House pays its tribute to all those farmers who have committed suicide," he said.

Responding to his contention, Khadse said, "It is unfortunate that he (Munde) started speaking when I had already started speaking on the condolence motion. Nevertheless, let me make it clear that most suicides happened when you (Congress-NCP) were in power."

"If you were so concerned about the suicides, you should have started the practice when your government was in place," he added. Even as the war of words continued from both sides, Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar said he had allowed Munde to speak thinking he had to add something to the condolence motion.

"I thought you wanted to add to what Khadse saheb was saying. Since this is not the case, please allow the House to continue with the proceedings," Nimbalkar said.

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