Mumbai: A day after the Maharashtra Assembly initiated the process of breach of privilege of the House against Shiv Sena-UBT MP Sanjay Raut for his purported “Chor Mandali” remarks, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Thursday urged “caution” on the issue.
Giving his sagely advice, Pawar, 82 said that Raut is a senior and respected Member of the Rajya Sabha, the highest legislature of the country, that is the Indian Parliament.
“Hence, before any proposed action against him, the legality and guidelines for taking such action vis-a-vis MPs should be carefully examined. Raut’s statement is essentially a reaction expressed about a particular group and its meaning is clear without any interpretation,” Pawar contended.
After a huge ruckus in the House on Wednesday over Raut’s purported remarks of “chor mandali”, Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar accepted a notice by some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members to initiate the breach of privilege process against the Sena-UBT MP.
Talking to the media in Kolhapur, Raut – ostensibly referring to the Shiv Sena of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde – said that “it’s a fake Shiv Sena, a gang of thieves, its not a legislature party but a ‘chor mandali'” and these utterances are now attracting the breach of privilege of the House.
Raising eyebrows at the breach of privilege committee convened for the purpose, the NCP supremo observed that the legislators from the Sena-UBT group, to which Raut belongs, are not included, “which is not correct”.
“Moreover, the committee appointed is expected to be independent and neutral. But, the MLAs who demanded action against Raut have also been included on the committee. This means the complainant is appointed as the judge, then how can justice be expected?” Pawar wondered.
The NCP chief, who is also a Member of Rajya Sabha, made it clear that the legislature in a democracy is the highest representative body of the people and its dignity must be maintained.
Nevertheless, he said that in order to ascertain whether Raut’s statements are about the legislature or on a particular group, the committee should comprise senior and impartial members to consider it collectively.
Delving into a historic example, Pawar recalled how during the tenure of the former Chief Minister Vasantdada Patil, his government was criticised by the (then) Opposition as “Ali Baba-Chaalis Chor” regime, and though such criticism of the law-making body (legislature) is never justifiable, opined that “the matter should be handled calmly”.