The three-week long monsoon session of State Legislature ended without any problem for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his government.
This was the first session of the Legislature since the BJP-led government in the state lost its first minister, Eknath Khadse, to allegations of wrongdoing and even had to announce a probe into the same. Some serious allegations were being made against few other ministers in the government. Though it looked like the Congress-led Opposition had enough ammunition to put the government in trouble, it failed to do so. In fact, the BJP’s ally Shiv Sena looked more aggressive than the Opposition while targeting the government. The session showed how the opposition parties are yet to learn the art of opposition.
The Congress’ team in the assembly is weak. It had several issues in hand to corner the government, but it couldn’t do so. In the upper house, senior leader Narayan Rane tried to put up an aggressive front. CM Fadnavis promptly countered him by issuing a veiled threat over pending implementation of a Supreme Court directive against him in connection with a decision taken by Rane while the latter was revenue minister in the Congress-led government. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is yet to recover from the shock of irrigation scam and arrest of senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal in cases against him. It doesn’t seem to be keen to put CM in trouble.
With no opposition to trouble it, the government should be doing really well. However, it doesn’t seem to be happening. As long as routine business was concerned, the government was comfortable. However, it did not take any bold steps or came up with any out of the box ideas for improving governance in the state. In the past two years, its performance is not disappointing but at the same time not impressive. Fadnavis will certainly not prefer tag of an average performer for his government. If he wants to show it is different than previous Congress-NCP governments, it will need to take some bold decisions, quick implementation and effective administration. It still has three years left to do the same. Its problem seems to be talent crunch. As long as administration is concerned Fadnavis himself is impressive. There are a couple of ministers who seem to be able to handle the administration and have some idea of which direction the government should be taking. In case of the rest, the less said the better. It is not that the previous governments were full of ministers bursting with talent, but expectations are high from Fadnavis’ team.
Going by the concerns being expressed in the top circles of the BJP, a mid-term reshuffle in the state seems unavoidable, probably after the civic polls in the state that will be held early next year.
There are little chances of BJP leadership replacing the CM, but Fadnavis will have to pick a team of efficient ministers. If he wants his government to put up a remarkable show in next three years, the performance of entire government will matter. This was what the just concluded session of State Legislature showed.