MUMBAI: The opposition parties today boycotted Governor C Vidyasagar Rao's joint address to the Maharashtra legislature on the opening day of its budget session, as they could not listen to the Marathi translation of his speech.
The angry opposition members then walked out of the Central Hall in protest.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis later apologised over the incident and demanded strict action against those responsible for the lapse.
As soon as the governor started his address in English, the members put on their headphones but could not listen to the Marathi translation due to technical glitches.
The opposition members were seen complaining that they were unable to hear the Marathi translation of the governor's speech.
They then shouted slogans, charging the government with insulting the Marathi language.
Even BJP members Ashish Shelar and Raj Purohit were seen objecting to the absence of the Marathi translation of the governor's address. They were joined by the Shiv Sena legislators as well.
State Education Minister Vinod Tawde, who is also in-charge of the Marathi language department, then went to the translation room and read out the Marathi translation of the governor's address.
As the opposition members were still shouting slogans, Fadnavis and Purohit told them that the translation of the speech could now be heard.
But the opposition members were in no mood to listen and staged a walkout.
Later, when the Assembly convened for the month-long budget session, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil condemned the "insult" to the Marathi language.
He demanded that the responsibility be fixed and action taken against those responsible for the glaring lapse.
Taking a dig at the Shiv Sena, he said the members of the party quietly sat through, despite the insult to the Marathi language.
"The Centre has already declined to grant 'abhijat' (classical) language status to Marathi and now the language is being insulted in such a manner," he alleged.
Fadnavis condemned the incident as well.
"This is serious and condemnable. I demand strict action against those responsible for this lapse. Even though this is in the legislature's domain, on behalf of the government, I apologise," he said.
Speaker Haribhau Bagde said the matter would be investigated and action would be taken accordingly.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said the chief minister could not wash his hands off the incident saying the matter was in the legislature's domain.
"The parliamentary affairs minister should take the responsibility," he said.
In his 40-minute speech, Rao said the government had a vision to catapult the state into a one trillion dollar economy by 2025.
This will be achieved by accelerating the growth in sectors such as agriculture, textile and tourism, he added.
Later, senior NCP MLA Ajit Pawar told reporters outside the House that when the governor started his address, he had put on his headphones to listen to the Marathi translation.
"I waited for 10-15 minutes but all I could hear was the speech in English. There was no one to translate it.
"We walked out of the House in protest. This is unacceptable that the Maharashtra government is insulting the 12 crore Marathi people," he said.
Pawar wondered why the Shiv Sena members remained silent and did not protest the insult to the Marathi language.
"I saw some Shiv Sena legislators standing in protest but they later sat down. The party always talks about Shivaji Maharaj and 'Marathi manoos' (Marathi people), but today they kept silent on the insult of Marathi language," he said.
Leader of Opposition in the state legislative council, Dhananjay Munde claimed that the governor's speech was heard in Gujarati, instead of Marathi.
"The speech was heard in Gujarati and not in Marathi. The government's approach towards the Marathi language is disappointing," he said.