Shiv Sena also demands apology from the MLA for ‘catcalling’ Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Vidhan Bhavan premises
An MLA has alleged that Nitesh Rane told reporters he would continue to repeat the act. File pic/Sameer Markande
BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) legislator Nitesh Rane may have escaped punitive action in the Assembly for allegedly ‘catcalling’ Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, but he is unlikely to be spared outside it by the government, on the pretext of being indirectly involved in attacking a Shiv Sena worker in Sindhudurg.
The Assembly was informed on Monday that the accused who have been arrested for the attack have linked it to Nitesh. The local Sena leaders have now demanded his arrest. Minister of State for Home Shambhuraje Desai assured that any person directly or indirectly involved in the violence against the complainant would be put behind the bars. Six people have been arrested. Nitesh was summoned for an inquiry twice, said the minister.
Sources said senior police officers have assembled in Sindhudurg, and security tightened. The incident took place against the backdrop of the local district cooperative bank election. The MLA has moved court for anticipatory bail.
Nitesh represents the BJP in one of the Assembly segments in Sindhudurg district where the rivalry between the Ranes and Shiv Sena has a place of prominence in the local politics. Nitesh could be the second person in his family to get arrested. His Union minister father Narayan Rane was arrested a couple of months ago for using foul language against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The BJP has called the allegation a witch hunt and stood in support of Nitesh, whose father called it vendetta politics.
The claws are out
In the Assembly, Nitesh, who didn’t attend the house, was accused of ‘catcalling’ Aaditya. Sena MLAs Suhas Kande, Sunil Prabhu and Bhashkar Jadhav raised the issue demanding suspension of the MLA if he did not apologise. The house was adjourned for 10 minutes when both sides created a ruckus.
Kande alleged that the incident happened last week during the BJP’s sit-in protest on the Vidhan Bhavan steps. He said while Aaditya was entering the building, Nitesh said “meow, meow” turning his head towards the minister. He added that Nitesh told the reporters that he would continue to repeat the act.
After the house resumed, Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis assured that Nitesh Rane will be reprimanded for his comments. But he protested that the ruling parties were deliberately trying to get the BJP MLAs suspended. “You have already suspended our 12 MLAs and want one more. Is it right to suspend a member for an incident that has happened outside the house? Are we starting a new thing?” he said.
The matter was ended by the presiding officer who assured that a meeting of group leaders will be held on Tuesday to prevent such incidents.
Inquiry in Madh Island bungalows
Following Leader of Opposition in the upper house, Praveen Darekar’s exposé, that the original maps of 1967 have been altered for illegal construction in 830 bungalows in Madh Island, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat has assured stringent action against the officers of the land records department and local assistant commissioner of the Mumbai civic corporation. Thorat said 102 bungalows were illegally constructed.
Speaker’s poll in limbo
The Maha Vikas Aghadi was headed for yet another encounter with the governor, who doesn’t seem to be in agreement with the government’s change of rule to hold the Assembly speaker’s election by voice vote, instead of secret ballot. Sources said the government was mulling on conducting the poll without his approval.
The MVA government had sought Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s nod for the dates, with a plan to complete the election process on Monday and Tuesday, the last two days of the winter session of the state legislature. However, Koshyari put a spanner in the MVA’s works and asked the government to hold on, because he has asked for legal clarity on the changes that allow voice vote instead of secret ballot.
The BJP opposed the change when the proposal came up last week, terming it unconstitutional. The government wrote to the governor and also sent ministers to Raj Bhavan to seek the nod on Sunday in order to announce the election programme for the two remaining days of the session which ends on Tuesday. The government discussed the issue with the advocate general on Monday.