Budget session: Opposition to fire drought ammo at Maharashtra govt

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2016 00:28 IST
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis (left) with Eknath Khadse in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT)

From drought in more than 35% of the villages, law and order situation, claims of investment in Make in India to unfulfilled assurances of reservation to dhangars (shepherds) and Muslims and irregularities by some of the ministers – the Opposition parties are all set to corner the state government during the budget session that starts on Wednesday.

Sixteen months after coming to power, the state has been in the eye of the storm over various issues. Most districts in Marathwada are facing drought, with acute shortage of water and fodder. Although the state cabinet toured the drought-hit areas to pacify people, the Opposition claimed despite the unprecedented situation, the government failed to announced official drought in the state, a move which could have brought more benefits for citizens.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, during a press conference after the customary tea party, said the government was serious about the issue and didn’t want to politicise it. “We have disbursed Rs2,436 crore to farmers in record time and Rs2,000 crore more will be released soon. The government has also taken some other measures including restructuring of loans, waiver in school fees, among others. The Opposition should look at the drought sensitively as the situation is unprecedented,” he said.

Finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the state has spent more than Rs10,000 crore, including the central government’s relief package, in the past one year. The Opposition is also expected to discuss the recent attacks on the police personnel in Latur and Thane.

The crime rate in Nagpur, the hometown of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, will give additional ammunition to the Opposition over the law and order situation. Exemption in electricity duty amounting to Rs500 crore to a private power generation company, multiple director’s identification numbers (DINs) held by union minister Nitin Gadkari and state education minister Vinod Tawde, BJP funding to a Marathi daily are also among the issues identified by the Opposition.

The BJP and Sena can heave a sigh of relief because of the rift between the Congress and NCP. The Congress believes the NCP has a hidden pact with the BJP and can anytime join the government if the need arises. The Congress lags in the coordination between their leaders, as some of them are accused of going soft on the CM.

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