Mumbai: Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole on Wednesday rejected the BJP's demand for a state government resolution honouring Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for his contribution to the Independence struggle, triggering protest from the Opposition party.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis also demanded that the government ban "Shidori", the in-house magazine of the Maharashtra Congress for publishing "objectionable" references to Savarkar. He tore a copy of the magazine.
Speaking in the Assembly, Fadnavis demanded that the government move a resolution on the death anniversary of Savarkar for his sacrifices and contribution to the freedom struggle.
To this, deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that Fadnavis, a former chief minister, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 20, 2018 and January 17, 2019 urging the Centre to honour Savarkar with Bharat Ratna.
"I wonder why there had been a delay when the BJP was in power in Maharashtra and also at the Centre," he said.
"Modi had been the PM formore thanfive years now while Fadnavis had ruled the state for the last five years. Like today, Savarkar's death anniversary falls every year," he said.
NCP ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil objected to the references made to Savarkar by Fadnavis while quoting from the magazine.
Meanwhile, Pawar said that everyone has respect for Savarkar and his contribution to the freedom struggle, but not everyone agreed with some of his views.
At this point, Patole rejected the demand of the BJP for the government resolution on honouring Savarkar and continued with the rest of the agenda, which angered the MLAs of the BJP.
Some MLAs of the BJP entered the Well of the House holding placards and photographs of Savarkar and shouted slogans against Shiv Sena, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Sensing the mood, the Speaker rushed through the business, including passage of some bills and a calling attention notice on crime against women, and adjourned the House for the day.
Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was not present in the House.
Meanwhile, BJP MLAs who squatted in the Well of the House held parallel proceedings in which Fadnavis accused the Sena of being "desperate" for power and turning a blind eye to insult to Savarkar by Congress leader and former Union minister Manishankar Aiyar.
"I recall how Balasaheb Thackeray had protested by hitting Manishankar Aiyar'sphotograph with chappals when the then Union minister had made critical remarks against Savarkar and removed the plaque from the Andaman Cellular Jail," he said.
BJP members among themselves "passed" a resolution honouring Savarkar before leaving the House.