The brew in the Chief Minister’s customary tea-party on Sunday was the Khairlanji issue. The opposition boycotted it and threatened to move an adjournment motion on the first day of the winter session of the Maharashtra state legislature, beginning in Nagpur from Monday.
The opposition cited the Khairlanji killings of four members of a Dalit family and the continuing spate of suicides by farmers in Vidarbha as the chief causes for this boycott.
The Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh addressing mediapersons in the evening quipped that the opposition’s boycott was also “customary” just as the tea-party.
He said along with the main issues, the opposition has also cited the failure of the Democratic Front government to provide free power and support price of Rs 2,700 per quintal for cotton as per their election manifesto as other reasons for boycott.
He described the "Operation Boycott" as unfortunate as the government was ready to discuss all these issues on the floor of the House. "We believe that problems can be resolved only by discussion and solutions also come out through discussion,” Deshmukh added.
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena-BJP combine charged the state government for failing to maintain law and order.
Leader of Opposition, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Ramdas Kadam and BJP leader Gopinath Munde said that while the government had come to power on the votes of the Dalits, it had failed to protect them.
They also blasted out against the manner in which the state government had handled the protests and agitations in this regard. Kadam blamed the state government for the violent fall-out of the Dalit protests.
Munde, who said that the opposition would move an adjournment motion in regard to Khairlanji on the floor of the house, further added that the government delay in clamping the Atrocity Act on the accused was unpardonable.
Specially attacking the Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil, also the Home Minister, Munde said that the state government had further failed to protect the public properties and infrastructure during the protests. He said that the government needed to apologise for its failure in case of Khairlanji.
The Chief Minister accompanied by his deputy and home minister R R Patil while replying to these charges said that the law and order situation in the entire state was perfectly under control.
The state government, he added, had conceded all the demands of the protestors including handing over the investigations to the CBI and setting up of a fast-track court.
Moreover, the state government has given a financial assistance of Rs 12.5 lakh and a government job to the sole survivor of the Dalit family, Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange. The CM said that the state government was even willing to appoint a good lawyer on behalf of Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange.
Deshmukh ridiculed the demand seeking resignation of Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil by the opposition and the protestors. Patil quipped, “It is my luck that they are only demanding my resignation and not insisting on hanging me.”
Deshmukh further informed that 17 important bills would be introduced in the course of the winter session. These include amendment of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Act, State Municipality Act and Amendment to the Prevention of Superstitions Act.