Exposed on OBC quota, Maha govt got 12 BJP MLAs suspended: Fadnavis

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Pune, Jul 9 (PTI) Twelve BJP MLAs were suspended from the Maharashtra Assembly for a year because the state government got exposed on the issue of OBC quota in local bodies, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday.

Talking to reporters here, he said the two-day monsoon that concluded recently was conducted in a 'one-sided manner' and when his party MLAs tried to protest against this 'locking up of democracy', the MVA government got the 12 MLAs suspended claiming they had misbehaved with presiding officer Bhaskar Jadhav.

'When the MVA government realised it had been exposed, it suspended 12 of our MLAs. Not a single MLA from the BJP hurled abuses at Jadhav or indulged in manhandling. Yes, there were heated arguments. It (suspension) was pre planned and pre meditated,' he said.

On the suicide of MPSC aspirant Swapnil Lonkar in Hadapsar area here some days ago, Fadnavis said deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's statement on filling up MPSC vacancies as well as appointment of MPSC board members getting completed by July end showed the government was not serious about the issue.

'Pawar said Lonkar's appointment was halted due to stay on SEBC quota. However, Lonkar belongs to the OBC category. The state government cannot shrug off responsibility this way,' the BJP leader said.

On renowned scholar Professor Hari Narke's claim that the previous BJP government had tried to seek empirical data (on OBCs) from the Centre, Fadnavis said he had told the Assembly at the time that the case was about quota going above 50 per cent in five districts in the state.

'We sought empirical data from the Centre to justify this quota going above 50 per cent in five districts. When the Centre declined to give this data, we issued an ordinance and reservation above 50 per cent was saved. Professor Narke is a leader of society and should not talk like the spokesperson of a party,' Fadnavis said.

He also rubbished Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana's claim that Rajya Sabha MP Bhagwat Karad was made a Union minister to finish off the career of former MLA Pankaja Munde.

Fadnavis said Karad was closely associated with late Gopinath Munde, and Pankaja Munde was more than happy than anyone else on Karad becoming minister as he is like family to them.

On the Shiv Sena opposing the creation of a cooperation ministry at the Centre since cooperatives etc were part of the state subject, Fadnavis said the National Cooperative Development Corporation had been giving funds to state level milk federations. sugar mills, textile units etc.

He said the new ministry, created for the first time in 70 years, will benefit sectors associated with it in all states, including Maharashtra.

He reminded detractors that the Centre had revived the fortunes of the sugar sector by giving minimum support price, packages and an attractive ethanol policy.

The former CM also added that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was given charge of this ministry as he was part of the cooperative sector earlier and had a great deal of knowledge about it.

'Now it is another fact that some people develop cold feet when certain things or a ministry goes to Amit bhai,' Fadnavis quipped.

Queried on rising fuel prices, he said Maharashtra was levying 'tax on tax', which had led to petrol retailing at Rs 104 per litre in the state while it was between Rs 90-92 in neighbouring Gujarat.

He ridiculed the combativeness of the state government towards the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre by claiming, 'in this government, if any minister is beaten by his wife, they will blame the Centre for the same'. PTI SPK BNM BNM BNM

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