Nothing like a common agenda to bring political parties together. The suspension of MNS MLA Pravin Darekar from the State Assembly seems to have brought the BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS closer -- the three parties presented a united front at the Vidhan Bhavan yesterday as they demanded for the MLA’s reinstatement.
When MNS raised the war cry at the monsoon session yesterday, Shiv Sena members readily gave their support and joined the party’s protest. Eventually, the BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS devised a joint strategy to exert maximum pressure on the Congress-led state government against the suspension of the Magathane MLA. The Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) also added strength to their numbers. Soon, it was the entire Opposition -- with the exception of Samajwadi Party -- that raised its voice against the move.
The demand for Darekar’s reinstatement was made as soon as the day’s business started with the question hour. The assembly was adjourned for an hour first, and then again for 30 minutes, till matters were finally adjourned for the day around 1 pm.
Even after ruling party members and their ministers left the house, the enraged Opposition members continued to sit in protest, under the leadership of Opposition leader Eknath Khadse and Shiv Sena group leader Subhash Desai. Opposition members occupied vacant chairs of ministers and ruling party members and began a mock assembly. BJP leaders told their members not to leave the Vidhan Bhavan premises if they wanted to continue their fight against the government.
“Efforts were made by the Opposition to reach an amicable solution, but there was no response from the ruling party. We approached the Assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil and asked him to intervene, but he expressed his helplessness, saying the proposal to suspend Darekar was moved by the government.
Around 5.45 pm, deputy speaker Prof Vasant Purke and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshwardhan Patil met Opposition MLAs and requested them to withdraw the agitation, but the BJP, Sena and MNS refused and asked the government to withdraw Darekar’s suspension,” said a senior MLA of the saffron combine, adding that the incident had brought the BJP, Shiv Sena and MNS together: “We can certainly work on bringing the Sena and MNS together with renewed vigour. This is a good sign, as Shiv Sena MLAs were also aggressive on supporting Darekar and the issues he has raised.”