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Penalty for Ajit Pawar divides opposition

The fracas surrounding Ajit Pawar and the search for suitable penalty for his remarks seems to have divided the Opposition. Members of the BJP and Shiv Sena are at odds on whether to continue protesting against Ajit Pawar or move on with legislative proceedings. While the BJP-led Opposition decided to participate in proceedings of the state assembly after registering a protest, Shiv Sena members of the state council continued aggressive protests, announcing that they were boycotting Pawar.

Ajit Pawar

According to sources, a joint meeting of Opposition parties was held at Vidhan Bhavan, where it was decided that an official demand would be lodged for Pawar’s resignation, after which they would cooperate with legislative proceedings. Accordingly, Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse demanded that the issue be discussed at the state assembly during the question hour. When the chair denied permission for the same, the members of the Opposition staged a walkout. 

Later, the Opposition sought to raise the issue through an adjournment motion. The speaker denied permission yet again, and the house witnessed considerable sound and fury. Eventually, the din died down and it was back to business. But matters took a surprising turn at the state council. As per the strategy, Shiv Sena member Diwakar Raote sought to raise a motion under Rule 97. His colleague Ramdas Kadam showed support but NCP members raised strong objection. In the furore that ensued, the house witnessed three adjournments. 

Much to the surprise and consternation of the BJP, Shiv Sena members went against the strategy agreed-upon at the meeting, and announced that they would continue with their agitation. Raote publicly declared the boycott, saying that Pawar would not be allowed to speak in the house.

Other Sena members Ramdas Kadam and Neelam Gorhe also made aggressive remarks. Shocked BJP members maintained a bewildered silence.
Later, BJP leaders claimed that the two Opposition parties had agreed upon a strategy at the meeting together, which was to allow for legislative matters to proceed.

However, Shiv Sena had not followed the brief. Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, on the other hand, said no that no Sena member who is part of the state council had been called to the meeting, so the decisions reached therein were not binding for them. “We will continue to boycott Ajit Pawar,” he said. 

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