Arnab Goswami, Kangana Ranaut face privilege motions in both Maha Houses

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Ruckus prevailed on the 2nd day of the monsoon session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Tuesday, after the Shiv Sena moved a breach of privilege motion against Republic TV’s Managing Director & Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami. A privilege motion was also moved against film actor Kangana Ranaut over her remarks comparing Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Moving the privilege motion against Goswami in the Assembly, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik accused him of using “derogatory language” & making baseless remarks against CM Uddhav Thackeray & NCP president Sharad Pawar. He further said that Goswami has been frequently insulting ministers, Lok Sabha & Vidhan Sabha members during TV debates & has made unfounded allegations against many in the actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case. 

He said that “In the name of independent media, he has been maligning the image of the Chief Minister, Pawar saheb & other elected representatives. We condemn this & demand that strict action be initiated by the House”.

Amid vocal opposition from the BJP benches, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Parab seconded the proposal, urging the presiding chair to accept the motion. “When someone targets the Prime Minister, you get angry. Then why don’t you also feel the same angst when someone wrongfully targets the Chief Minister,” said Parab.

NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi also supported the motion.

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“While everyone was free to express their opinion in our democracy, there has to be some decorum,” said.

Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, the presiding authority, ruled that “action as per legislative rules” be taken on the Sarnaik’s proposal. But Sarnaik pressed for a statement from the Home Minister in this regard.

Objecting to this suggestion, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said that Tuesday was the last day of the ongoing session, & there were more important matters including discussions on the supplementary demands & the pandemic which were pending. He also accused the ruling coalition of adopting a two-faced approach when it came to freedom of expression of the media & also alleged that the government was muzzling voices of dissent in the media.

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Proceedings of the house were adjourned thrice- once for ten minutes & then twice for half an hour each- over the issue with BJP legislators opposing the proposal & sloganeering against it.

Later speaking to newspersons, Sarnaik went on the claim that the motion had been “accepted” by the chair, even as Zirwal’s last ruling to the legislative secretariat on record on the issue was to take “appropriate action” in the matter.

The controversy surrounding actor Kangana Ranaut’s controversial remarks against Mumbai Police also came up for discussion during the debate, with Home Minister Anil Deshmukh “condemning” the actor’s remarks terming them as an insult to the Police & the whole of the state.

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A similar motion was moved by Shiv Sena legislator Manisha Kayande in the Legislative Council against Goswami, while Congress’ Ashok Jagtap moved a privilege motion against Kangana Ranaut for ‘defaming Mumbai’.

Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Maharashtra Legislative Council Chairman, accepted both the motions, saying, “I have accepted the breach of privilege of motion. In the absence of a committee for it, I am going to decide on it (on the motion).”

Ranaut had compared Mumbai to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), saying she felt “unsafe in the city”. Following this, she got into a verbal spat with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut. Ranaut had been in news for her controversial statements on the Mumbai Police’s handling of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. She was also accorded Y+ security by the Centre on Monday after she alleged threat to life. 

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