State legislative council cancels Navnath Avad's membership

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Mumbai, July 18 (UNI) Maharashtra legislative council today cancelled the membership of BJP MLC Navnath Avad, who has been in a coma for the last four years, on the grounds of remaining absent from the legislature proceedings for more than 60 days.

A decision to this effect was taken by a committee of four members, headed by Muzaffar Hussain. The other three members are Sadashiv Pol, Jayant Patil and Dr Neelam Gorhe.

Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh tabled the motion, saying that they were not happy in taking this step, but keeping in view the present situation, it had to be done.

Mr Avad, who was elected to the upper house on June 27, 2004, has been in Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital, Pune from October 18, 2004, as he is suffering from Hypoxia and is in coma.

As the resolution was tabled, the opposition members staged a walk out and the resolution was passed by voice vote.

Protesting against the decision, state BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the decision is completely undemocratic. The entire Shiv Sena-BJP opposition boycotted today's proceedings, protesting the decision.

Mr Gadkari told reporters that Pappu Kalani, Krishnarao Pandav (Congress) and Dharamchand Choradia (BJP) also remained absent from the house for long and despite being in power, the Shiv Sena-BJP government did not take such an action.

''This may be the first instance in the parliamentary history of the country'', he added.

He alleged that the chief minister was interested in getting elected his close friend Sudhakar Gangane from this constituency.

It may be recalled that Mr Avad's absence from the house became a controversial issue due to a report that appeared in media, which said that despite being in coma, Mr Avad's signatures are there on the register and even the money of his fund is being utilised.

UNI JM SR RL KN1617

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