In an unprecedented action, Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari abandoned his traditional opening address at the start of the Budget session of the Maharashtra State legislature. The Governor stopped his speech a few minutes after he had started because of the sloganeering that was going on in the house by legislators of all parties. Once off the dais, he immediately left the Vidhan Bhavan premises.
Ever since 2019 when the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) 30-year-old political union ended and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) was formed, there has been incessant baiting of the government by the BJP. The latest was the arrest of the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP’s) Nawab Malik in an alleged money laundering case and his alleged links with the underworld fugitive, Dawood Ibrahim. The BJP has been demanding that Malik be made to resign from his post as Minister of Minority Affairs, but the MVA continues to extend support to him saying that he is innocent until proven guilty. BJP legislators had been raising slogans inside and outside the Vidhan Sabha, leading to turmoil. Malik remains in custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
MVA legislators were as much to blame for the tumult at the Legislature today. They, too, raised slogans, some in response to the BJP’s accusations regarding Malik as well as those shouted in praise of the Maratha warrior-king Shivaji. The last was in response to an alleged “insult” by the Governor. At a recent function in Aurangabad, the Governor had underlined the role of a guru, citing the examples of Shivaji and Chandragupta Maurya. He had said that many great emperors and rulers had gurus that guided them, that nobody would have heard of Chandragupta and Shivaji if there had been no Chanakya or Ramdas.
The MVA took offence to this, saying that the Governor was undermining the greatness of Shivaji and that he should apologise.
Nana Patole, head of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, said they would consider legal options to pass a resolution to bring the Governor back to the Legislature. He said it was not appropriate for the Governor to have left in the middle of his speech. He also defended Malik, saying the BJP had no right to demand his resignation. “Dozens of Ministers in the Devendra Fadnavis government were accused…. How many resigned? They were all given a clean chit,” he said.