During the governor's customary address to the joint sitting of the two houses of the state legislature on the opening day of the Budget session, Marathi translation was not available.
The Maharashtra Assembly witnessed a goof-up in translation during Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao’s address, triggering protests and walkout by the opposition. Speaker Haribhau Bagde said the matter would be investigated and action taken accordingly. The governor as well as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanded strict action against those responsible for the lapse. During the governor’s customary address to the joint sitting of the two houses of the state legislature on the opening day of the Budget session, Marathi translation was not available. The opposition members protested against this and staged a walkout. As soon as the governor started his address in English, the members put on their headphones but could not listen to its Marathi translation due to technical problem. The opposition members were seen complaining that they were unable to listen to the Marathi translation of the governor’s speech. They shouted slogans accusing the government of insulting the Marathi language. Even the BJP members, Ashish Shelar and Raj Purohit, were seen objecting to the absence of Marathi translation of the governor’s address. They were joined by the Shiv Sena legislators as well.
The state education minister, Vinod Tawde, who is also in-charge of the Marathi language department, then got up, went to the translation room, and read out the Marathi version of the governor’s address. As the opposition members were on their feet, shouting slogans, Fadnavis and Purohit told them that the translation could be heard. But the opposition members were in no mood to listen to them and walked out. Later, when the state assembly convened for the month-long Budget session, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil condemned the “insult” to the Marathi language. He demanded that the responsibility be fixed and action taken for the “glaring” lapse. Fadnavis condemned the incident. “This is serious and condemnable. I demand strict action against those responsible for this lapse. Even though this is in the legislature’s domain, on behalf of the government, I apologise,” Fadnavis said.
Later in the day, the governor wrote a letter to Legislative Council chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar and Legislative Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, asking them to take “serious cognisance” of the non-availability of Marathi translation facility during his address. “During my address to the Joint Session of the Legislature in the morning today, it was observed that the Marathi translation of my speech was not taking place. I am of the view that it needs to be considered with utmost seriousness and a strong action needs to be taken against those responsible for this serious lapse,” the governor wrote. “I request you to kindly take appropriate action and inform me about the same,” the letter said. Senior NCP MLA Ajit Pawar said outside the legislature complex that when the governor started his address, he put on the headphone to listen to its Marathi translation. “I waited for 10-15 minutes but all I could hear was the governor’s speech in English. There was no one to translate it,” he said. “We walked out of the House in protest. This is unacceptable that the Maharashtra government is insulting 12 crore Marathi people by not facilitating the governor’s speech in Marathi,” Pawar said.
He wondered why the Shiv Sena members remained silent and did not protest insult to the Marathi language. “I saw some Shiv Sena legislators standing in protest but they later sat down. The party always talks about Shivaji Maharaj and ‘Marathi manoos’ (Marathi people) but today they kept silent on the insult of Marathi language,” Pawar alleged. Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde, claimed that the governor’s speech was heard in Gujarati instead of Marathi. “The speech was heard in Gujarati and not in Marathi. The government’s approach towards Marathi language is disappointing,” he said. Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said the chief minister cannot wash his hands off the incident by saying what happened was in the legislature’s domain. “As government, the parliamentary affairs minister should take the responsibility,” Chavan said. Vikhe Patil said, “The Centre has already declined to grant ‘abhijat’ (classical) language status to Marathi and now the language is being insulted in such a manner.”