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No graceful condolences for Gopinath Munde in state assembly

Ruling and opposition members argue over the condolence motion for BJP MP Gopinath Munde, who died following a car crash in New Delhi yesterday; after 2 adjournments, the motion was finally passed with no member of his party present

The lack of unanimity on paying condolence to departed BJP leader Gopinath Munde in the state assembly on Tuesday left many politicians bitter.

Also read: Beed to bid farewell to Gopinath Munde from his factory ground

Eldest daughter Pankaja bids goodbye to Gopinath Munde, as cousin Poonam Mahajan consoles her, after his mortal remains were flown to the city from New Delhi last eveningEldest daughter Pankaja bids goodbye to Gopinath Munde, as cousin Poonam Mahajan consoles her, after his mortal remains were flown to the city from New Delhi last evening

After much dilly-dallying, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan moved a condolence motion and it was passed after just two speeches, one by him and the other by Speaker Dilip Walse Patil.

The state government has announced a three-day mourning for the departed leader. Pics/Bipin Kokate
The state government has announced a three-day mourning for the departed leader. Pics/Bipin Kokate

It was a rather poignant moment for those who saw Munde in the state assembly officiating as leader of opposition from 1992 to 1995 and deputy CM from 1995 to 1999 of his 25-year-long association with the house.

Munde’s daughter bids adieu to her father at the BJP headquarters near Mantralaya last night. Pics/Bipin Kokate and Pradeep DhivarMunde’s daughter bids adieu to her father at the BJP headquarters near Mantralaya last night. Pics/Bipin Kokate and Pradeep Dhivar

The series of developments that began soon after the state assembly took up the day’s business at 11 am saw two adjournments for one hour each.

Also read: Wearing a seat belt could have saved Gopinath Munde's life

Rahul Mahajan, son of deceased BJP leader Pramod Mahajan who was Munde’s brother-in-law, helps out with the arrangements for a tribute service in Worli
Rahul Mahajan, son of deceased BJP leader Pramod Mahajan who was Munde’s brother-in-law, helps out with the arrangements for a tribute service in Worli

The members present in the house were clueless, as no reason was being provided for the adjournments. It was only at 1 pm when the proceedings began that the house was informed that the government was waiting for official notification issued from Delhi on the demise of Munde.

“In absence of such a notification we cannot decide whether to call off the day’s business or not,” said presiding officer Walse Patil. Soon thereafter Walse Patil announced moving a condolence motion and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan read out the text. At this point, senior member of the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) Ganpatrao Deshmukh said there should be a discussion on the motion.

Gopinath Munde: Life in pictures of the senior BJP leader

The speaker replied that a discussion on the condolence motion could be taken up at the central hall later. But Industries Minister Narayan Rane supported Deshmukh, saying that members wanted to share fond memories of the leader, who had spent a considerable time in the house.

The event was to be organised at the central hall and not recorded as assembly proceedings. PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, too, backed the proposal of discussion. Loksangram party leader Anil Gote and MNS leader Pravin Darekar said they also wanted to speak.

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Independent member Sitaram Ghandat opposed immediate discussion citing that no member of the BJP or Shiv Sena was present. Ignoring this, Walse Patil announced that the house was taking up the motion. And after the CM read it out, Walse Patil spoke briefly and the house was adjourned for the day.

BJP-Sena discontent
The BJP-Sena members were against any discussion on a condolence motion to pay tribute to Munde. None of the members of the alliance were present in the house to express their solidarity.

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Sources said senior leaders of BJP who were holding party-level discussions to receive mortal remains of the departed leader were in touch with the CM and other top leaders over phone.

Also read: Political leaders react to Gopinath Munde's passing

Their requests to hold back the motion went unheeded. A chaotic situation prevailed in the political circle exhibiting unpleasant chinks.

Discussion after funeral was not possible: CM
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said a three-day mourning was not possible, as it had no precedent. “The opposition was of the view that the discussion should happen only after the funeral. In this case what were we expected to do through today and tomorrow?” he said.

“The state has already declared a three-day state mourning,” he said, adding, “There was no reason to specify for an adjournment of the state assembly today.” According to Harshwardhan Patil, minister for parliamentary affairs, the discord among house members was unfortunate.

“Never in the legislative history had the house mourned any leader’s death for three days. Even today, we could not adjourn the house without giving any reason. The motion had to be taken up immediately as the central government notification was issued,” he said.

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