The logjam in the state legislature ended on Friday as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan managed to convince the opposition parties, Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to participate in the proceedings. The opposition allowed the legislature to function without any disruptions after the government agreed to their demands.
For the past two days, the opposition had stalled assembly proceedings of both houses of legislature, demanding an immediate compensation package for farmers, who suffered losses due to the recent untimely rainfall in the state. On Thursday, the government had suspended 5 Shiv Sena MLAs for a period of one year for unruly behaviour in the assembly.
The opposition, which was taken aback by the suspension of MLAs at the behest of Chavan, had a closed door meeting with him late on Thursday evening. According to sources, Chavan showed willingness to get the suspension period reduced if the opposition was ready to let the legislature function.
On Friday, the opposition legislators did stage a protest by covering their mouths with black ribbons. However, following a meeting of leaders from both sides in speaker Dilip Walse-Patil’s chambers, the opposition accepted Chavan’s offer and participated in the proceedings. The one-year suspension of the Sena MLAs will now be reduced and it will be revoked by the end of the ongoing session of the legislature, said sources.
“We decided to participate in the proceedings after the ruling parties accepted our demands. We want to raise several important issues in the legislature so participating in the proceedings was important,” said opposition leader Eknath Khadse. Even parliamentary affairs minister Harshvardhan Patil said both sides were feeling that the punishment given to the unruly legislators was too harsh and needed to be reduced.
However, during the debate, the opposition launched a scathing attack on the Congress-NCP government for not announcing compensation package for the farmers, who suffered losses due to the untimely rains. “On one hand, the government starts single-window system to give FSI or TDR to builders and on the other hand, it wants a thorough debate to give compensation to farmers affected by untimely rainfall,” said Khadse.
The government will reply to the debate on Saturday.