Creche promise 'broken', Maha NCP woman MLA threatens to boycott legislature session

Ahire-Wagh pointed out that she had written a letter to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in December-end on the need to have such 'Hirkani Room'

IANS Photo
IANS Photo


When Nationalist Congress Party's Nashik MLA Saroj Ahire-Wagh reached the Maharashtra Legislature on Monday morning, and marched to the baby day-care centre with her 18-week-old infant son, Prashansak, in her arms, a shock lay in store.

"As I entered, I found there was just a name-plate proclaiming 'Hirkani Room', but no other facilities for day-care for my son. Inside was some old furniture, a few dusty and musty old sofa sets, the room seemed dirty, uncleaned. This is not what was expected and couldn't take my ill child there," claimed an irate Ahire-Wagh.

Taken aback by the purported 'Hirkani Room' provided by the government for women legislators to bring their small children to the Legislature during daytime, Ahire-Wagh has decided to boycott the day's proceedings.

"In December 2022, I attended the Winter Session of the Legislature in Nagpur with my 10-week-old son. The very next day, the government had set up a nice 'Hirkani Room' for his daycare. But what I saw in Mumbai today is unexpected," she told mediapersons.

Ahire-Wagh pointed out that she had written a letter to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in December-end on the need to have such 'Hirkani Room' in not only the legislatures, but in all government offices in the state so women can bring their minor kids for caretaking and enhance their productivity."

"However, I have been moving around in Nashik, but did not see this implemented in any government offices. Unless the government provides a proper 'Hirkani Room' in the legislature, I may be compelled to keep away from the entire (Budget) Session," Ahire-Wagh warned.

Official sources said that the 'Hirkani Room' was set up last week itself and more facilities would be added soon there, but said the MLA's grievances would be looked into.

It may be recalled that on December 19, 2022, Ahire-Wagh had created a pleasant sensation when she arrived at the Legislature carrying her infant son in her arms, with husband Dr Pravin Wagh and mother-in-law in tow.

At that time, she had rued how there was no proper feeding room or a creche for the children of women legislators and urged the state government to do the needful.

As her baby's 'day out' in the Legislature created waves of excitement across the country, the Maharashtra government cracked the whip and quickly readied a small cozy 'Hirkani Room' where the Deolali (SC) Nashik legislator took care of the little Prashansak during the brief Nagpur Session.

That was said to be the first ever in India that any woman lawmaker had come to the legislature to fulfil her legislative duties along with her infant child and earned huge appreciation from all quarters.

Later, Ahire-Wagh was felicitated by CM Shinde and Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, while other leaders and legislators cutting across party lines had lauded her move - similar to recent examples of women leaders in Europe, Australia and some Arab countries taking their infants or even feeding them in the law-making bodies.

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