The ongoing agitation in Kolhapur against levy of toll found its echo in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Monday with two Shiv Sena members of legislative assembly from the area being suspended and physically evicted for disrupting the proceedings.
Trouble began during the debate on the state budget when Sena MLAs Sujit Minchekar and Rajesh Kshirsagar began shouting slogans demanding immediate scrapping of toll and a discussion on the subject in the House. They soon climbed the Speaker’s podium and lifted the mace in protest, forcing the chair to adjourn the House for 10 minutes amid the ruckus.
Later, when the House reassembled, Deputy Speaker Vasant Purke announced the suspension of Minchekar and Kshirsagar for the rest of the session. The defiant MLAs, however, refused to leave the House and squatted on the floor, forcing the chair to call in the marshals to evict them physically. Purke also asked other Shiv Sena members not to prevent the marshals from doing their duty.
Several political parties including Shiv Sena, Peasants and Workers Party and the Left are protesting against collection of toll at Kolhapur. Several local leaders of the ruling Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have also joined the protest.
Thousands of workers from these parties took out a morcha from Gandhi Maidan to the Collector’s office on Monday demanding scrapping of toll. However, no violence has been reported so far.
Several parts of the state, including Mumbai and Thane had witnessed violence in February this year, after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray asked his supporters to stop paying toll. Scores of toll booths were vandalised across the state.
Image: A driver paying toll. Image is for representation purposes only.