Pays back, revokes suspension of 9 MLAs

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Mumbai, Apr 1 Maharashtra Assembly today revoked suspension of nine of the 19 Opposition members who were barred from attending the proceedings of the House for the rest of the year for creating ruckus during the budget presentation last month.

The MLAs whose suspension was lifted are Deepak Chavan, Dattatraya Bhare, Avadhoot Tatkare, Narhari Jhirval and Vaibhav Pichad (from the NCP) and Sangram Thopte, Abdul Sattar, Amit Jhanak and DP Sawant (from the Congress).

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The Opposition disrupted the proceedings in the House during the budget presentation on March 18, by displaying banners before Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar while he was reading out the budget speech.

The resolution for revoking suspension was passed by the ruling members - BJP and Shiv Sena - even as the Opposition was absent in the lower house. Currently, all Opposition legislators are busy with the "Sangharsh Yatra" (struggle march) that is being held to demand waiving off loans for distressed farmers. The Opposition has boycotted the proceedings protesting against the suspension and in support of the farm loan waiver. The budget copies were also burnt outside the House.

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Following this, Opposition leaders boycotted Assembly proceedings.

Sources in the Congress and NCP said some of the MLAs might come back to the House, after which the CM will move to take back the suspension. The Opposition attended Upper House (Legislative Council) and on Friday requested to reconsider suspension. "It is hard to carry out work in the house if there is no opposition". The Opposition stuck to its point that the MLAs had not misbehaved and the action on them was unconstitutional, while Chief Minister Fadnavis said that the stature of the House was at stake and was firm on not revoking their suspension at one go. "We will positively take decision regarding suspended MLAs tomorrow", Mr Fadnavis said.

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NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar questioned the logic of revoking suspension of just nine legislators.

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