Bhujbal arrest rocks Maharashtra legislature

Mumbai, March 15 (IANS) Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Maharashtra legislature on Tuesday, with members of the opposition NCP and Congress protesting the arrest of former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, resulting in the legislative assembly as well as council being adjourned four times.

While the Opposition accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena of pursuing “politics of vendetta”, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rejected outright the charges, saying Bhujbal — a legislator from Yeola in Nashik — was nabbed on the basis of evidence found in the Enforcement Directorate cases against him.

The day’s proceedings in the assembly started with the opposition members raising slogans condemning the arrest of the Nationalist Congress Party leader, leading to an adjournment for 10 minutes.

Later, as the house met again, noisy scenes continued followed by a walkout by the opposition, and finally leading to three more adjournments.

Rejecting opposition allegations, Fadnavis emphatically said the ED was an independent body and acted only after gathering “concrete proof” against Bhujbal.

Similar noisy scenes were witnessed in the council where the NCP’s Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde moved an adjournment motion calling for setting aside the day’s business to discuss Bhujbal’s arrest.

Munde said Bhujbal, a legislator, was also a former deputy chief minister, a former leader of opposition and an ex-member of the upper house whose arrest had vast repercussions in the state, with protests and public anger.

Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar said the house generally conducts the Question Hour followed by adjournment motion, but the dissatisfied opposition members rushed near the podium and shouted slogans, leading to a 30-minute adjournment.

The ruckus continued even as the government insisted on conducting the question hour as per schedule and rules of the house before considering the opposition demand, leading to two more adjournments and finally for the day.

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