The state Legislative Council was adjourned thrice on Wednesday, after uproar over Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) land allotment order that he had issued as the urban development minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Demanding Shinde’s resignation, MVA legislators raised the issue in the Council for the second consecutive day. All MVA legislators, including Leader of Opposition Ambadas Danve, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ajit Pawar, and Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Aaditya Thackeray also staged a protest outside Vidhan Bhavan demanding Shinde’s resignation.
The ruling side maintained that the matter is sub-judice and has already been discussed in the House on Tuesday. The arguments led to the adjournment of the Council thrice for 15 minutes each with both sides coming down to the well of the House.
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had last week ordered status quo on the decision taken by Shinde, when he was the urban development minister, over the allotment of land meant for slum dwellers to private persons. Shinde had on Tuesday denied any wrongdoing and rejected the Opposition’s demand to quit.
On Wednesday, Danve and Shiv Sena (UBT) MLC Anil Parab demanded discussion over the issue. “Clearly there has been wrongdoing in the process of land allotment… which has been proved since I have the documents of the whole procedure. At this juncture, the CM should not remain on the post and step down,” said Parab. He requested Deputy Speaker Nilam
Gorhe to accept his request to discuss the issue. But the ruling benches objected and Gorhe rejected the request.
Earlier in the day, Danve told the House, “Manojkumar Suryavanshi, chairman of the Nagpur Improvement Trust, had issued an order stating people from one family received more than one plot. Thus, the plot distribution cannot be regularised.” He claimed that Shinde had given an order for the regularisation of land allotments.
Fadnavis, however, objected to the mention of Suryavanshi’s name without due procedure being followed – one-day notice has to be given stating that a private person or one associated with the government will be mentioned in the House. He said, “If the discussion was over on Tuesday, why are we discussing the issue again in the House? Everybody knows the issue is sub-judice, then why are we discussing it in the House… things shouldn’t not take place in the house without following procedure and rules.”
However, Danve and Parab argued that the House has all rights to discuss any issue.
Even as the ruling benches claimed that there was no wrongdoing in the allotment of the land, a questionnaire tabled in the House on Wednesday contained questions from three BJP MLCs – Pravin Datke, Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Nagorao Ganar. They asked Shinde if there has been irregularities in allotting the NIT land via backdated and bogus agreements. In the written reply in the question-answer sheet, Shinde has replied in the negative and stated that there has been no irregularities in the matter.