Maharashtra Advocate General Shreehari Aney’s demand for separate Marathwada state today led to ruckus in the state Assembly which was adjourned thrice as Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena raised slogans and demanded Aney’s resignation.
“The government should sack Aney or else it will be construed that it is backing him,” NCP MLA Dilip Walse Patil said.
Calling Aney “Owaisi in Maharashtra”, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik said, “What Aney is saying tantamounts to insult of martyrs who laid down their lives in the struggle for united Maharashtra.”
The House was adjourned thrice amid noisy scenes and sloganeering.
Aney, at an event in Jalna yesterday where he disbursed relief to families of farmers who committed suicide, said Marathwada bore more injustice than Vidarbha and should therefore be independent.
He also called people of Marathwada to start a movement for formation of a separate state.
Speaking outside the Assembly, State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said “Is Aney an agent for dividing the state?”
Congress MLA Nitesh Rane also strongly condemned Aney’s remarks.
Amidst the uproar, an Opposition member sought to know if the government will invoke ‘sedition’ charge against the Advocate General.
State Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, while speaking in the Upper House, said the government is ready for a debate over the issue and that a decision on Aney’s statement would be taken within an hour’s time.
Panel Chairman Muzaffar Hussain, however, chose to adjourn the House for the day.
Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde, who had initially moved the adjournment motion, called for an immediate clarification by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the issue and demanded Aney’s ouster.
“After batting for a separate statehood for Vidarbha, he now wants separate statehood for Marathwada. Tomorrow he will demand a separate Khandesh and then want Mumbai to be separated from the state,” Munde said.
Earlier, Lok Bharati’s Kapil Patil, while speaking on Motion 289, said Aney’s statement amounts to treason.
“Aney has time and again spoken against the government. His statements amount to treason. We want to know if the government will invoke section 124 (A) of the IPC against him,” Patil said.
When the controversy over Aney’s separate Vidarbha remarks erupted last year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had indicated that there was no need for Aney’s resignation for his statement on Vidarbha, while stating that the subject of creating a separate state of Vidarbha falls solely in the jurisdiction of the Parliament and union government.
The Shiv Sena had staged demonstrations and demanded Aney’s resignation for his statement on a need for referendum to create a separate Vidarbha state.
Fadnavis had said Aney made it clear that he had expressed his views in a private function and not as the Advocate General of the state.
Aney had also said that while some people argue that the separate Vidarbha demand was made by a few leaders and does not enjoy popular public support, the fact was that 97 per cent people in four districts of Vidarbha had voted in favour of a separate Vidarbha.
He further said that if at all there were any doubts, the Centre could go for a referendum.
Fadnavis had then said Aney made it clear that he made no statement insulting the 105 martyrs who laid down their lives during the Samykta Maharashtra agitation.