Mumbai: Five Congress MLAs in Maharashtra were suspended on Wednesday for heckling Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and stopping his car. While the MLAs have been suspended for two years, a committee has been set up to report on the incident in the next Assembly session.
The Congress and Shiv Sena were agitating after the BJP won the trust vote by voice. The opposition parties have questioned the Speaker's decision to not go for a division of votes. They alleged that the BJP government was in minority. All five suspended Congress MLA denied causing injury to the Governor and alleged that the entire episode was a "conspiracy" by the BJP government.
The suspended Congress MLAs - Rahul Bondre, Jaykumar Gore, Virendra Jagtap, Abdul Sattar and Amar Kale - said they did not heckle the Governor.
"The BJP legislator Girish Mahajan's account of the alleged incident was taken as an eye-witness account, while we were not given a chance to put forth our side of the story. Mahajan's presence at the place of protest itself is suspicious, since he is the Governor's bodyguard. How was he present there?" they said.
The MLAs also appealed to reporters asking them to examine the facts, since they too were present at the venue. "We are confident that we will be proved innocent after the probe. If the government keeps us out for two years, we will tour the entire state and go to the people to highlight wrongdoings of the BJP government," they said.
Suspended MLA Abdul Sattar said, "We were targeted because we brought up the matter of how the government won the trust vote in an undemocratic way. We were suspended for hiding their minority government status and to muzzle our voice."
Reacting to the drama, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, "The way the Congress MLAs behaved with the Governor is deplorable. They have rightly been suspended. BJP alone has a majority of 122 which is more than Shiv Sena and Congress combined. Congress should apologise for this behaviour."
(With Inputs from PTI)