Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole on Wednesday rejected the BJP's demand for a state government resolution honouring Vinayak Damodar Savarkar better known as 'Veer Savarkar' for his contribution to the Independence struggle, triggering protest from the Opposition party.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis also demanded that the government ban "Shidori", the in-house magazine of the Maharashtra Congress for publishing "objectionable" references to Veer Savarkar. He tore a copy of the magazine.
Speaking in the Assembly, Mr Fadnavis demanded that the government move a resolution on the death anniversary of Veer Savarkar for his sacrifices and contribution to the freedom struggle.
To this, deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that Mr Fadnavis, the former chief minister, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 20, 2018 and January 17, 2019 urging the Centre to honour Savarkar with Bharat Ratna.
"I wonder why there had been a delay when the BJP was in power in Maharashtra and also at the Centre," he said.
"Modi had been the PM for more than five years now while Fadnavis had ruled the state for the last five years. Like today, Savarkar's death anniversary falls every year," he said.
NCP ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil objected to the references made to Savarkar by while quoting text from the magazine.
Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar said that everyone has respect for Savarkar and his contribution to the freedom struggle, but not everyone agreed with some of his views. At this point, Mr Patole rejected the demand of the BJP for the government resolution on honouring Savarkar and continued with the rest of the agenda, which angered the MLAs of the BJP.
Some MLAs of the BJP entered the Well of the House holding placards and photographs of Savarkar and shouted slogans against Shiv Sena, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Sensing the mood, the Speaker rushed through the business, including passage of some bills and a calling attention notice on crime against women, and adjourned the House for the day.
Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was not present in the House.
Meanwhile, BJP MLAs who sat in the Well of the House held parallel proceedings in which Mr Fadnavis accused the Sena of being "desperate" for power and turning a blind eye to insult to Savarkar by Congress leader and former Union minister Manishankar Aiyar.
"I recall how Balasaheb Thackeray had protested by hitting Manishankar Aiyar's photograph with chappals when the then Union minister had made critical remarks against Savarkar and removed the plaque from the Andaman Cellular Jail," Mr Fadnavis said.
BJP members among themselves "passed" a resolution honouring Veer Savarkar before leaving the House.