The first day of the state legislature’s budget session began on a stormy note Thursday with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari concluding his speech to the joint session of both chambers in two minutes amid chants from lawmakers.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government claimed that the governor’s decision was shocking and not befitting the dignity of the post he held. State Congresswoman Nana Patole said the party is exploring legal options to move a motion to remove the governor.
As soon as the governor entered the stage in the central hall of the state legislature, lawmakers from the MVA – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – shouted slogans in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Koshyari had earned the ire of the MVA last week when he referred to Samarth Ramdas as being the “guru” of
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The statement was not well received by the ruling allies, who asked him to apologize.
Shortly after the slogans were lifted, Koshyari urged MVA lawmakers to let the national anthem play. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was seen waving at lawmakers, asking them to stop shouting slogans.
When Koshyari began to read his speech after the national anthem, slogans were launched first by the Treasury benches on behalf of Shivaji Maharaj and then by the opposition benches, demanding the resignation of NCP Minister Nawab Malik, who was arrested by the ED in connection with a money laundering case.
The governor read the first and last paragraphs of his nine-page speech, wrapped up the address to the session in two minutes, and left the central room immediately. He did not wait for the national anthem, which is part of the program, to be played after the speech.
The Treasury pews seemed puzzled by the move, not knowing what was going on inside the central hall.
The governor drew criticism from ruling parties and various organizations following his remarks during a broadcast in Aurangabad on Sunday when he said that Samarth Ramdas was the guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji Maharaj’s direct descendant and BJP MP Udayanraje Bhosale also criticized the remark, asking Koshyari to withdraw it.
Against this background, the Governor read out the first paragraph of his speech on Wednesday – “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the first session of the State Legislature in 2022. My government will continue to follow the ideals high set by examples such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and other great visionaries and social reformers.Then he jumped to the last paragraph and concluded his speech.
The State Cabinet meeting chaired by Thackeray in the afternoon expressed shock and displeasure at the way Koshyari left his speech midway. “While it is the governor’s prerogative to read the full text of the speech or read part of it and table the remaining part, he should have waited for the national anthem to be played as it is part of the program. Cabinet members considered this an insult to the Constitution and called the Governor’s action reprehensible,” a government source said. The source added that the Cabinet discussed sending a letter to the President, expressing the state government’s displeasure with the governor’s action, but a final decision has yet to be made. .
Ruling parties have accused the BJP of wreaking havoc in the central hall. “When the governor came to the central hall, the MVA deputies greeted him with the slogans of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. But BJP lawmakers created chaos and unfurled banners, which is why the governor left the hall before the end of the national anthem. It is also an insult to the national anthem. An unfortunate event that has never happened in the history of Maharashtra has happened today,” said Jayant Patil, NCP leader and Minister of Irrigation.
Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said the governor’s decision shocked the government. “It’s a pity. It’s an insult to Maharashtra. It’s wrong for a Governor to go away like this and be insulted during his speech. We are shocked by these things.
Patole said the fact that Koshyari left the legislature midway through his speech was not appropriate for the governorship. “We are exploring legal options to move a motion calling for the governor’s recall,” he added. “He insulted 12 million people in Maharashtra. We will applaud Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in every nook and cranny of Maharashtra even if the BJP or the governor does not like him,” Patole said.