An intense debate is expected in the Maharashtra Legislature over the irrigation scam as the Congress-NCP combine on Sunday said it was ready for a discussion on the issue.
Both chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar put up a show of unity on the eve of the winter session during which the Opposition is planning to corner the government over the irrigation scam.
“We are ready to discuss any proposal," said Chavan as opposition parties submitted a 32-page black paper on the irrigation issue in response to the state government’s white paper issued last week.
The Nationalist Congress Party's Ajit Pawar, who returned as deputy chief minister to the state cabinet on December 7 — 72 days after he stepped down following allegations against him — said he was ready to take on the Opposition. "I will show in the House (Legislature) how I face them (the Opposition)," Pawar said at a media conference after a tea party hosted by the CM.
Significantly, Chavan said: “Ajit Pawar has always been positive and contributed a lot to the government. The coalition government will work properly with his return to the cabinet," Chavan said.
Protesting against Pawar's reinduction in the state cabinet, the BJP-Shiv Sena led Opposition boycotted the tea party and demanded an SIT probe into the irrigation scam.
In the black paper, the opposition parties said the white paper by the state government last week was prepared to give a clean-chit to NCP leader Ajit Paward and was silent on the findings of investigating committees such as the Wadnere Committee, the Mendhegiri committee and the Upase committee. The black paper alleged that the cost of of irrigation projects was very high in the state as compared to other states in the country.