A belligerent Opposition, a divided ruling coalition and the results of the municipal council elections, provide a perfect setting for a stormy winter session of the state legislature, beginning in Nagpur on Monday.
The opposition has decided to take the ruling DF coalition head on and has all the arsenal to fire salvos at the government on the issues of seeking a hike in the minimum support price for raw cotton, soyabean, paddy and the government’s alleged failure in providing relief to the distressed farmers.
The souring relationship between the Congress and NCP, the principal partners of the DF coalition over the functioning of senior minister Narayan Rane in Konkan, is expected to spice up the scheme of things.
A meagre Rs 3,300 per quintal as minimum guarantee price of raw cotton is now a major issue in Vidarbha. The BJP has already begun mounting pressure on the government for better support price for cotton, soyabean and paddy. Led by its vocal legislator Pasha Patel, a farmers’ march which started from Latur, will reach Nagpur on December 12. A similar march by Swabhiman Shetkari Sanghathana, led by Lok Sabha member Raju Shetty, will reach in Nagpur on Monday, the first day of the winter session.
Senior BJP MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the BJP and Shiv Sena would take up the farmers’ issues and expose the mis-governance and deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Mungantiwar said that the opposition would also boycott the customary tea party, to be hosted by the chief minister Prthiviraj Chavan, on Sunday. “How can we take tea when distressed cotton growers are taking poison to end their lives because of not getting a remunerative price of their produces and mounting debts,” he pointed out.
The NCP has already supported the demand of different farm organizations to hike the support price to Rs 6,000 from Rs 3,300 per quintal may be left red-faced given the growing distance with the Congress.
The souring relationship with the NCP and Congress has its roots in the strong differences emerging between the partners in Konkan local-self government elections where Rane (Congress) and Bhashkar Jadhav of NCP are challenging each other. Tempers have been running high between the Congress and NCP workers in the district over the last few days during the municipal election campaigns.
In a veiled attack on Rane, the NCP even requested the state election commission to declare Sindhudurg district as ‘sensitive’ so that the municipal council polls there can be held in a free and fair manner.
Rane, during his campaign speeches, targeted senior NCP leader and home minister RR Patil apart from questioning state minister Jadhav’s style of functioning. The NCP and Congress could reach poll pact on only 15 municipalities and are pitted against each other in the rest of the state.
On the other hand, this is the first time that the BJP-Sena have tied up with RPI (Athawale) to contest the local-self government elections.
The impact of elections results that is expected during the winter session, would decide the future politics of the state.
The winter session is expected to last two weeks as the state goes to municipal corporation elections early next year.
The session may also witness a change in the Opposition benches. The leader of Opposition in the state legislative council, Pandurang Phundkar (BJP) will be replaced by trusted Nitin Gadkari lieutenant Vinod Tawde - a decision taken by the BJP parliamentary board a few months back. Putting Tawde in the thick of action in the legislative council is prompted by Gadkari to keep an upper hand in the state unit of the party. Tawde is also a known bête noire of senior party leader Gopinath Munde.
A number of bills, proposals and debates are on the agenda during the winter session including the amendment to City of Nagpur Corporation Act, 1948 and the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 1949.