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Maharashtra: Sanjay Raut gets more time to explain himself

Updated on: 09 March,2023 05:49 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

The Rajya Sabha MP had allegedly called the vidhimandal (legislature) a ‘chormandal’ (house of thieves); speaker extends deadline for his reply but does not reveal for how long

Maharashtra: Sanjay Raut gets more time to explain himself

Sanjay Raut was to reply to the breach of privilege motion within two days. Pic/Ashish Raje

Sanjay Raut, leader of the Thackeray Sena, was given more time on Wednesday to present his side in a breach of privilege motion that was moved against him on March 1. Speaker Rahul Narvekar told the house that the MP had been asked to submit his explanation in writing to him before the chair took a decision on Wednesday.

“Since he has sought more time from me, I have extended the deadline. Suitable action will be taken after Raut submits his reply,” said the Speaker on Wednesday evening. Narvekar did not, however, specify the date given to Raut. He said he had sent Raut a letter on March 3 and the reply had been expected within two days of the notice.

What Raut said

Raut faced action for calling the state legislature a house of thieves. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  and Eknath Shinde Sena members had demanded his immediate arrest. The Rajya Sabha MP, while talking to reporters in Kolhapur last week, allegedly called the vidhimandal (legislature) a “chormandal” (a house of thieves), triggering an uproar in the Assembly.

Rahul Narvekar, speaker
Rahul Narvekar, speaker

In the lower house, BJP's Atul Bhatkhalkar and Shinde Sena's Bharat Gogawale moved a motion against Raut, and the treasury benches demanded action against him for insulting the august house. Bhatkhalkar demanded that the privilege committee of the house send the notice for inquiry last Wednesday itself and the matter be decided before the end of the budget session. Similar demands were made in the upper house as well, but proceedings have not moved ahead there after the motion’s submission and discussion.

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In a letter to Narvekar, Raut said that his remarks were meant specifically for the MLAs of the Eknath Shinde group who had switched sides last year to dislodge the Uddhav Thackeray government. “I respect the legislature and its members. I’m also a Rajya Sabha MP,” he said while asking for more time to send his detailed explanation because he was away on a political tour of the state.

A complex matter

The breach proceedings against the MP appear to be a complex matter, because as per the Council deputy chairperson Neelam Gorhe, the inquiry report, if any, has to be sent to the secretariat of the house the MP belongs to. In Raut’s case, it will be the Rajya Sabha.

The matter also lost some edge after similar action was demanded against CM Shinde for allegedly calling the Opposition members who had boycotted his customary tea party on the eve of the session, “anti-national." Shinde explained later that he had responded to Ajit Pawar’s statement that sharing tea with the CM would be an act of “Maharashtra droh” (anti-Maharashtra act), and his remarks were for former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) minister Nawab Malik, who faces sedition charges.

On Wednesday, the lower house saw no untoward action as far as this particular matter and the extension of deadline was concerned, indicating that the government was not very inclined to stretch the matter. However, the privilege committee consisting of MLAs from all parties, except those from the Thackeray faction, was formed after the incident happened. The matter will be referred to it by the Speaker, if he deems it fit after reviewing Raut’s explanation.

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