The issue of farmers' plight and the prevailing drought in Maharashtra's Vidarbha and Marathwada regions brought friends- turned-foes -- Congress and NCP--together once again as the state legislature witness an uncharacteristic unity between the opposition parties on Tuesday.
Both houses of Maharashtra legislature were adjourned without transacting much business following a ruckus.
The opposition parties' show of a rare unity assumes importance as the NCP had extended unconditional support to the BJP to form the government when the latter had fallen short of majority.
All members of the opposition parties, including NCP, made a strong attempt to stall the Question Hour with a high-pitched sloganeering against the government when the Speaker Haribhau Bagde in the assembly and Shivajirrao Deshmukh of state legislative council rejected adjournment motion to suspend the question hour for discussing the issue.
Later, leaders of the two parties told mediapersons that they had simply demanded suspension of the Question Hour so that a discussion could be taken up under Rule 57 on the above issues in the larger interest of farmers.
As soon as the house met on Tuesday, Congress group leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil tabled the motion under the house rule 57 which was rejected by the Speaker, pointing out that the issue was already listed in the house agenda for discussion. But the opposition was determined on its issue and went to the well and started sloganeering against the government.
The Speaker had to adjourn the house for 15 minutes. When the session resumed, there was no improvement and the opposition members continued to protest.
Ignoring the protests and slogans, Speaker chose to go ahead with the Question Hour and allowed questions till number eight as some ministers gave replies.
Opposition party members' continued to protest and staged a sit-in agitation to press their demand. However, the Speaker remained unmoved and continued the Question Hour amidst opposition sloganeering. Amid the din, the government succeeded in passing four crucial bills and tabled the supplementary budget for discussion and consideration.
After the Question Hour, revenue minister Eknath Khadse requested the Speaker to allow the discussion on drought. However, the Opposition was adamant on discussing it only under the rule 57 of the house. They insisted that the government should announce a bailout package for the farmers before initiating the discussion,
When the Speaker rejected their demand, the opposition members trooped to the well protesting and termed the BJP-Sena government as anti-farmers.
The Speaker had to adjourn the house four times because the Opposition was not ready to discuss the drought issue until a relief package was announced. As the pandemonium prevailed in the House, the Speaker adjourned the house for the day.
The state legislative council, too, was paralyzed on Tuesday by the opposition on the drought issue. The council was adjourned six times, before it was adjourned for the day.