Ajit Pawar’s remarks rock Maharashtra house again

Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) The opposition in the Maharashtra state assembly created bedlam for the second successive day here Tuesday over Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s recent remarks on the people in drought-hit areas and attempted to bring a censure motion in the house.

The proceedings started amidst noisy scenes with Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse saying that a mere apology from Pawar was not acceptable and he must resign.

“With his statements, Pawar has insulted women and lowered the stature of Maharashtra. He must quit from his post. The chief minister should make a statement, apologise and dismiss Ajit Pawar,” Khadse demanded as opposition members rushed to the presiding officer’s chair raising slogans against Pawar.

The Shiv Sena also sought to bring a censure motion against Pawar who maintained that since he had tendered an apology in the house Monday, the issue had ended.

Shiv Sena legislator Subhash Desai who sought to move the censure notice, said Pawar’s remarks were “derogatory” and deserved to be condemned.

However, citing procedural issues, Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil rejected the censure motion even as the house was adjourned twice amid uproarious scenes and later adjourned for the day.

Known for his brashness, Pawar again uttered some controversial comments which several parties and groups termed as “insulting and ridiculing the drought-hit population”.

“Who is that (Bhaisaheb) Deshmukh? What is the point of his protest? Will it yield water? When there is no water, where will I arrange water from? Should I urinate in the dams?” Pawar had said at a public meeting in Pune district Sunday, sparking off waves of protests and condemnation across the state.

Later, he said in the same speech: “The population is increasing due to load shedding as people have nothing to do when there is no electricity.”

By Sunday evening, Pawar apparently sobered up and offered an apology for his statements. He followed it up with a similar apology in the assembly Monday, but the angry opposition kept up its demand for his removal.

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