Arnab and Kangana at center of ruckus in Maharashtra Assembly
On the last day of the monsoon session, both Houses in Maharashtra Assembly witnessed an upheaval as members moved privilege motions against journalist Arnab Goswami and actor Kangana Ranaut. In the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and Council, Shiv Sena moved a motion against Goswami for defaming Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. A similar motion was moved against Kangana at the Council for her comments on Mumbai.
The privilege motion against Goswami, the boss of Republic TV, was moved by Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik. He said Goswami made derogatory remarks against Thackeray and NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, leveled unfounded allegations while covering actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death case, and also insulted several ministers, all in the name of "independent media." Sarnaik called on the House to initiate action against Goswami.
The motion invited protests from the opposition BJP. However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab lent support to the motion telling the opposition that they get offended when someone insults Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Why don't you also feel the same angst when someone wrongfully targets the Chief Minister," Parab asked. Samajwadi Party's Abu Azmi and NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal also supported the motion.
Thereafter, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal suggested "action as per legislative rules," but a displeased Sarnaik demanded a statement from Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. Reacting strongly to this suggestion, former CM Devendra Fadnavis said the ruling party was deploying tactics when pressing issues like the rise in coronavirus numbers needed attention. The BJP leader also accused the government of "muzzling dissenting voices" in the media.
Meanwhile, in the Legislative Council, Congress' Ashok Jagtap moved a motion against Kangana claiming that she defamed Mumbai. To recall, Kangana, who has been criticizing the Maharashtra government and Mumbai Police, for a botched-up investigation in the Sushant's case, was told by Sena's Sanjay Raut to not return to Mumbai if she felt "threatened." Responding to him, she equated Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
"Sanjay Raut Shiv Sena leader has given me an open threat and asked me not to come back to Mumbai, after Aazadi graffitis in Mumbai streets and now open threats, why Mumbai is feeling like Pakistan occupied Kashmir? (sic)," Kangana had tweeted, triggering a row.
In the House today, Deshmukh also condemned Kangana's remarks saying that she insulted both Mumbai Police and Maharashtra. At the Council, another motion was also moved against Goswami by Sena Legislator Manisha Kayande. Both motions were accepted by Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, who said, "In the absence of a committee for it, I am going to decide on it (on the motion)."